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Review: ALK CoPilot Live Laptop 10
Marvin Hlavac
ALK CoPilot is the only program on the market today which offers two user-selectable interfaces in one application: a Windows-style user interface for advanced trip-planning, and a driver-friendly (and touch-screen friendly) user interface designed for easy access to basic features and safe operation while on the road. Some of us may have no need to ever use the "Planning" interface, because the program can be used just fine in the "Navigation" mode, just as you would use GPS units built into high-end vehicles, or any of the many PNDs (Personal Navigation Devices) on the market today. But when the need for more elaborate planning arises, all that a user needs to do is just click (or tap) the "Planning" button to access a desktop-style mode.[/COLOR]

The ALK CoPilot implementation of the "Guidance" and "Planning" modes is in my not-so-humble opinion ingenious.


Map & Routing

Routing quality depends on the routing algorithm and it also depends on the quality of the underlying map data. CoPilot can be purchased with seamless USA/Canada map, or map of most of Europe, or Australian map. The European and Australian data is licensed from Navteq, a third party map data provider. Navteq maps are of very good quality. The USA/Canada map data has been the product of ALK itself. I have to admit I would love to use CoPilot with Navteq map data instead of the current ALK map data. I drive mostly in and around Toronto, Canada, and for my geographical area Navteq has more reliable maps than ALK.
If I recall correctly ALK did switch to Navteq for their Australian product about a year ago, abandoning Sensis as the map provider. I wonder if there is a chance ALK would ever switch to Navteq even for their North American product.

ALK CoPilot has always been popular among RV travelers. And not surprisingly so, because CoPilot offers large vehicle routing capabilities. Here's an excerpt from the user manual:

Quote:
CoPilot comes with pre-defined routing options that provide RV routing (choose RV) or routing that is calculated specifically for most light vehicles such as cars, SUVs, and small trucks (choose Automobile). If you choose RV routing, narrow roads, tight turns, and U-turns will all be minimized to provide you with the safest and easiest way to drive your RV or other large vehicle. In the United States only, RV routing can be configured to completely avoid highways that have bridge heights under 12’6” or 13' (depending on which height you select under Routing Type). Note that these restrictions DO NOT take bridge heights into consideration on smaller, local roads. For your safety, always take note of bridge heights when driving large RVs.
Avoid Roads / Favour Roads


ALK CoPilot has a very powerful, yet easy to use tool for route modification. With a simple mouse-click users can specify a road segment to avoid, or even a whole road to avoid. The same way we can tell the program to favor a road segment, or even a whole road.

Voice direction prompts

Users can choose to listen to voice direction prompts generated by TTS (text-to-speech) technology, or pre-recorded real human voice. Each of the two has its own advantage: TTS is capable of pronouncing street names, for example "turn right of Queen Street". Many users like to know the name of street to turn on, instead of knowing just the distance-to-turn provided by the pre-recorded voice files. However, some users (me included), like to keep the voice prompts as short as possible, even if it means sacrificing street names. I personally prefer human voice over text-to-speech. The sound quality is better, and I only consider knowing street names "somewhat helpful". But this is very much a personal preference. It is great that ALK CoPilot offers both choices. Actually there are quite a few choices, since you may choose male or female voice, various accents, and even several languages, for both TTS and real-voice

Real-Time Traffic Reporting

I have not tested this service myself, as I don't think it is yet available in my area (Canada). But as far as I know it is already available in many US markets. There are two ways to access the service: via a TMC-enabled traffic receiver, or via an Internet connection. So you don't need to purchase a TMC receiver if you already subscribe to a mobile Internet service.

ALK Copilot Live Laptop 10 doesn't just display traffic incidents along your route. It even suggests a detour around the incidents. But as I said I haven't had the opportunity to test this feature myself. I would welcome any feedback on this, or any other feature, from other users. Just hit the "Reply" button on the bottom, and share your thoughts with us.

Live Communications

ALK CoPilot users may send to their friends, family members, or colleagues e-mail invitations to track their GPS location on-line:

Quote:
Greetings!

Marvin Hlavac has sent you a CoPilot Live Web Tracking Invitation!

Please click on the link below to observe Marvin Hlavac's vehicle movements from your web browser. You can even send Marvin Hlavac text messages or a new itinerary.

http://live.alk.com/login.aspx?InviteCode=64993608047093&Language=en-CA&Email=webmaster@laptopgpsworld.com

Please note that, if nothing appears in the vehicle list, Marvin Hlavac is not currently connected to the CoPilot Live network.

If you have trouble using the link provided, please use the following steps:
  1. Click (or copy and paste into the browser address line) the link: http://live.alk.com/
  2. Click on the "Tracking" tab at the top of the login form.
  3. Enter this tracking number: 64993608047093 and the email address this invite was sent to.
While visiting our website, please be sure to explore the full line of GPS navigation products at this link: http://www.copilotlive.com/

Disclaimer: ALK Technologies has not validated the authenticity of any email address.
Privacy: Your privacy is our priority. Please see our online Privacy and Security statement at this link:http://www.alk.com/privacy.asp
The service then allows your friends to monitor your movement, send you a message, and even send you a destination (which you may accept or decline) via the ALK website, as shown bellow:


The "Live" features are unique to ALK CoPilot. If you have a use for these features, then ALK CoPilot may be the right product for you.

CoPilot has many more interesting features, but I wish to keep this review relatively short . The following information is from ALK website:

Quote:
ADVANCED FEATURES INCLUDE:
  • NEW! The most comprehensive street level Maps of U.S. & Canada
  • NEW! Over 6 Million POI’s including phone numbers from InfoUSA
  • NEW! Toll Road Alert- CoPilot lets you know if and where you have to pay a toll
  • NEW! Increased Speech Volume- CoPilot will increase the speech volume with the progressive speed of your vehicle
  • NEW! Philips 2.0 USB GPS receiver support
  • NEW! RV Routing now with 12’6” & 13’ height restriction options and overall routing has been refined based on user feedback
  • NEW! Real-Time Traffic enabled Nationwide
  • IMPROVED! Highway-Level Information of Mexico
CORE FEATURES:
  • Dynamic Route Guidance Provides voice guided, turn-by-turn directions to any address.
  • Automatic Route Recalculation Directions are updated every second. If you miss a turn, you get new directions instantly.
  • Two-Way Voice Technology Gives detailed spoken instructions and responds to your voice commands.
  • Basic Routing Options: Lets you easily select between Quickest, Shortest, RV as well as offering a Toll Avoidance option.
  • Detour and Avoid Roads Gets you around unexpected traffic or street
GUIDANCE FEATURES:
  • Seamless coast-to-coast routing across U.S and Canada
  • Step-by-Step Address Entry with Type-Ahead makes entering your destination easy.
  • POI Alerts notify you when you're approaching your pre-selected POI’s options
  • Routing Options have been expanded to include Auto Quickest, Auto Shortest, RV Quickest, RV Shortest, RV 12’6”, RV13’ and Toll Avoidance.
  • Route Optimization re-orders your stops in the most efficient manner.
  • Driver Safety Screen toggles between an all-text display and a full-map view.
  • Customizable Display Get important information fast, including driving speed, Elevation, altitude, travel direction, and more
  • Waypoints let you tailor your route preferences and allow you to pass through a particular area on the way to your final destination.
  • Pick Stops from the map - tap and hold a road to add an address as a stop.
  • Lane Change Warnings alert you to upcoming left exits, ensuring that you have plenty of time to safely get to the proper side of the highway.
  • Side of Street Notification tells you which side of the street your destination is on, making it easier to locate the right building when you arrive.
  • Enable Propane Restrictions to completely avoid tunnels that prohibit propane tanks.
  • 3D Map Display with Mileage Markers, Moving Maps, and turn arrows that highlight the way ahead.
  • Auto-Zoom 2D Map View options include current location to Next Turn or Destination. When selected, CoPilot progressively zooms in on the map as you approach either your Next Turn or Destination.
  • Night Mode reduces glare and eye strain to improve night time safety.
  • Large Map Display combines a large map view with concise text directions.
  • Route-Over Highlighting clearly defines the route ahead.
  • Scenic Routing guides your route toward one of 518 scenic byways that make up over 42,000 miles of scenic roads throughout the U.S.
  • Change Voices on the fly between the included male and female or select from any additional voice sets you have created/downloaded
PLANNING FEATURES:
  • Planning Mode gives you the ability to pre-plan, customize and optimize routes before driving.
  • POI Import allows you to import and manage custom Points-of-Interest. Build your own POI database from personal contacts, popular destinations, or third-party lists in all popular formats including OV2.
  • Fuel Cost Wizard lets you calculate your gas expenditure when planning trips.
  • Change Voices on the fly between the included male and female or select from any additional voice sets you have created/downloaded.
  • Customizable Routing Profiles give you complete control over what kind of roads CoPilot prefers (highways, local roads, etc.).
  • Ability to create and share your own voice or download new voice sets as they become available.
LIVE FEATURES:
  • Real-Time Traffic enabled nationwide to help you avoid congestion or delays
  • Live Communications allow you to email tracking invites to friends and colleagues.
  • Text Messages sent from home or office to the vehicle includes large, customizable, one-touch responses to ensure driver safety.
  • Real-Time Tracking of your travels by friends, family and loved ones over a secure Internet connection (live.alk.com)
  • Itinerary Updates including new stops and revised destinations, allow you to coordinate changes to your plans without having to pull over and enter new information.
* To use Live Features you will need a data service plan through your wireless carrier.
ALK CoPilot Live Laptop 10 can be purchased at ALK website or through several of their distributors. The program sells for around $149, and there are packages available with various GPS receivers, too.



Questions? / Comments?
Berdie
Trying to find a way to get my co-pilot 10 laptop live version to work on my new vista laptop, Any help would be greatly appreciated

Brett
malaki86
If you're running a 64bit version of Vista, the answer is "it won't run - period"

if you've got a widescreen laptop, you'll have to change your screen resolution to a non-widescreen format before it'll work.
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