Buy It & Try It: Auto Pilot

(Columbia) April 30, 2004 - WIS News 10 asked Sylvia Boatwright to help us put it to the test. She's a driver for the Red Cross, making her first trip to Charleston, "This cargo that I'm taking today is very important, because it's for the hospitals."

Once Boatwright hit the highway, it was time to go on auto pilot. We checked various landmarks along the way. The first, according to the navigator, a Shell Station should have been ten miles down the road at exit 129.

It was correct.

Next query was about a Comfort Inn and the Auto Pilot was right again.

Further down the highway, we saw a sign for a 24 hours McDonald's. We asked the Auto Pilot for 24 hour food. It served up lots of options, but no Mickey D's.

The Auto Pilot then indicated the next town should be Harleyville, but the signs say St. George and Holly Hill

We ran into a bigger problem as we got closer Charleston. Sylvia made a wrong turn onto Interstate 526. We went to the Auto Pilot for help, but I-526 isn't in the database.

It was time to navigate the old fashioned way and after taking the scenic route we finally reached our destination.

As for the Auto Pilot, Sylvia says save yourself the aggravation, "It was not helpful at all."

Here's what Judi was able to determine with the Auto Pilot. Most of the gas and rest stop information was accurate and it also has a pretty comprehensive database of hotel phone numbers.
The numbers to call for emergency road assistance were easy and accurate.

What they did not tell you in the commercial is the Auto Pilot only works on interstates, which usually have plenty of signs for hotels, gas and food. The Auto Pilot does not include all major highways. It did not have 526 in Charleston.
Also, you cannot update the database, so if highways or exits change then you stuck with outdated information.
The Auto Pilot does not give specific directions. For example, it will tell you there's a hospital in Columbia, but it does not give directions on how to get there.

By Judi Gatson
Posted 7:28pm by BrettWitt