That's one way to upgrade your Subaru.
In-car navigation systems have often missed the mark. Inputting your destination via the touchscreen or voice commands can often be frustrating, or you may find yourself guided to the wrong address. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can improve matters, but a company called 'what3words' believes that it has come up with the perfect solution to fussy navigation systems. We heard about what3words back in 2017 when the company partnered with Mercedes-Benz, and again more recently when this functionality was added to the Lamborghini Huracan for 2022. But now it has announced a relationship with Subaru of America. The first model to benefit from what3words as part of its infotainment interface will be the 2023 Subaru Outback, appropriate for a car that is capable of traversing rough, desolate terrain.
But how does what3words work and why is it being seen as a major advancement of in-car navigation systems? As the name suggests, what3words allows users to enter the precise address of any location using a combination of three random words. What3words divides the world into a grid of 57 trillion squares, with each one measuring 10ft x 10ft. Every single square is then assigned a three-word address. For example, Subaru of America's headquarters in Camden, New Jersey, has the following what3words address: //match.rally.cubes. If you're an outdoorsy type, you can navigate to the exact square in the Grand Canyon with the most amazing view of the Kaibab Suspension Bridge with the //costumes.plotted.notepad address.
What3words highlights a couple of common issues that its navigation system eliminates. For instance, entering a specific address is easier. Some pop-up venues won't have an address at all, and the same applies to large locations like campsites, car parks, or beaches. You can also find your way to specific entrances of buildings where there may, for example, be multiple entrances. According to what3words, although 80% of global motorists use satellite navigation in their cars, 87% of these drivers don't fully trust the system to get them to where they need to be. Notably, the system operates entirely offline so is ideal for users who will often visit remote areas where an internet connection could be poor or non-existent.
Besides the Outback, other Subaru models are expected to follow in the near future with the same technology. Subaru joins Mercedes, Ford, Mitsubishi, and Lamborghini as other automakers that have already partnered with what3words. VinFast, which recently announced it would be building a new EV factory in North Carolina, also became the first all-electric carmaker to partner with what3words.
"At Subaru, we're known for being more than a car company," said President and CEO of Subaru of America, Thomas J. Doll. "We want our drivers to be out exploring the world, and with this what3words integration, adventure has never been easier."
Co-founder and CEO of what3words, Chris Sheldrick, says that the company provides "an address for every adventure". The free what3words app can be downloaded on both iOS and Android devices.