We have seen GPS units in Shanghai taxis before, but the one we saw yesterday (pictured) seemed a little cooler than most (if the word “cool” can in fact be used to describe a GPS unit in a taxi).
What caught our eye was the device’s handwriting recognition feature. Once we told our cabbie the destination, she took out a stylus and wrote the address on the color screen. Then the GPS pinpointed the location and (we think) guided the driver there. The unit speaks to you and announces each approaching intersection. Our driver still somehow managed to get lost, but we don’t think it was the device’s fault.
The GPS unit in question appears to be an N500 from a company called 城际通 (Cheng Ji Tong). You can see (and hear) a device demonstration on their website. Over at Taobao it looks like an N500 will cost you somewhere between RMB 2,500 and 3,000. Here’s an image from one of the sellers.
The taxi in which we saw the N500 was a blue independent one, part of the Blue Union.