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According to AFP, Japanese developers have come up with a new navigation system on some late model Hondas that has added overlays that show high crime areas so users can avoid these potential trouble spots.


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This is the latest software upgrade to navigation systems that these days are competing by offering real-time traffic information, weather maps, restaurant ratings, speed limit information, parking availability, traffic camera locations (in Europe), and many other points of interest (POIs).

A prototype of this crime-aware navigation system was unveiled by Mitsubishi in 2006, and, according to AFP, becomes available next week on all Hondas sold in Japan. It rates districts by level of risk.

However critics say Japan is a comparatively homogenous country, and criminals look more or less like the rest of the population, give or take a few scars, tattoos, or missing fingers. In the U.S., automakers have privately said it’s not hard acquiring and overlaying crime data onto any navigation system, and it would be the kind of information that would benefit from being updated in real time, rather than relying on disc-based data that could be several years out of date.

But US automakers are fearful of implementing this system in that country- not least of which for reasons of racial profiling or ethnic stereotyping.

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