• Nov 29, 2007


It wasn't so long ago that finding a road atlas shoved underneath the passenger seat was standard practice – Hell, we still have one highlighted with our favorite roads in and around our hometown. But with the price of portable sat-nav systems going through the floor, it's simply a matter of time before we see them in cars that cost less than the unit itself.

Our friends over at GrandJDM flashed back over two-and-a-half decades and came across this gem from Honda that offered a non-satellite-guided system that's more than imaginative in its execution. You choose a plastic map from the guide book, insert it into the machine, place an "X" on your current position and then a gas gyroscope measures the car's movement, plotting your course. Genius! The only rub was the cost of the system which came in around $2-3k... in 1981... when the Accord it was fitted to cost about $12,000 $8,000.

[Source: GrandJDM]


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  • 14 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Whats even more funny is that Ford employed something like this in the Aurora concept car at the (1964 mind you) worlds fair in NYC.

      http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/classic/112_0507_archive/photo_02.html
      • 7 Years Ago
      inertial navigation for the average consumer. That rocks !! I want one :-) is there anyway to do inertial navigation today? like this maps and all? that would be a ton fun to play with and you can't jam it either :-) or "turn it off" :-)
      • 7 Years Ago
      Back in 1989 Bosch introduced a navigation system in Germany. But still no GPS.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The level detail reminds me of the map KITT would bring up whenever Michael would need to get somewhere. Or better yet, the one in Bond's Aston from "Goldfinger".
      • 7 Years Ago
      You have to admire whoever came up with this idea. Innovation takes time to perfect. I am very thankful technology has come to where GPS systems work so well in our cars
      • 7 Years Ago
      Don't laugh too hard at this technology, it's commonly referred to as inertial navigation, and it's still employed by military aviation as a failsafe in the event of satellite disruption or EMP.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This device reminds me of the first marine chart "plotter" I ever saw, which was actually based a plotter mechanism! You would place a regular paper chart on the plotter bed, calibrate the lat-long into the system and then a combination of transit satellite/loran position and dead-reckoning (gyro/speed log) information would move the plotter pen across the chart, tracking the ship.
      Michael.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Our current factory GPS system has inertial navigation built in and it's amazingly accurate. My GPS antenna was broken once for a week or so before I could get it fixed, and the navigation still showed quite accurately even after a week.
      • 7 Years Ago
      We could all have a GPS/Radio if the car companies wouldn't see it as a cash cow. They still charge $2000-$3000 for an in-dash GPS unit. Or maybe they just missed that everyone can buy a better system at a supermarket for a 10th of this price.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Personally I don't think it's so bad...give that was over 25 years ago. The question is...did it work well?
      • 7 Years Ago
      $12,000 for an accord in 1981? I don't think so. $12,000 would have bought you a brand spanking new corvette back then. The price was more like $4,000 back then. You are excused for not being old enough to know but don't just pull numbers out of your....
        • 7 Years Ago
        I concur, George. My father bought a 1983 Accord Hatchback for a shade over $8,000 at the end of 1982. This was when people were paying MSRP, as well. $12,000 is off the mark, especially for 1981, when the first gen Accord was in its last year.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think this was a joint venture between Honda and Alpine Electronics.
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