Honda rolled out a brand-new feature in Japan on April 22nd—a built-in navigation add-on that points out questionable locales on maps. I have affectionately dubbed this feature the Sketchometer.
I don’t know how the system does it (does anyone? even Honda?), but its ability to pinpoint specific locations where car jackings and thefts have occurred in the past is more than a little freaky. I mean, what if you lived in one of those areas?
I wouldn’t want my fancy new car feature warning me not to go down the street where my favorite supermarket is or beeping whenever I drove within ten feet of anyplace nebulous.
From an objective standpoint, the feature really isn’t a bad idea. It’s great to know, for example, if you’re parked in a neighborhood where you should probably lock your doors. From a sane-person standpoint, though, it’s kind of absurd.
Are you really going to not drive to your friend’s house just because he lives in an unsavory part of town? No, and it’s going to be annoying that your Honda reminds you of just how sketch your friend is.
I suppose if you’re driving through a new place or searching for an apartment or something, Honda’s new navigation could be really useful. If you’re just scooping the loop around your hometown, though, who cares? Everyone already knows where the skeezy parts of town are without having a car tell them so.
Nice try, Honda—and maybe not a total failure. You’ve at least secured the paranoiacs as customers.