The Auto Pilot: Does It Work? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/18/04

The Auto Pilot: Does It Work?

Have you even driven down a major interstate wondering when you'll cross the next gas station? Take the guess work out of your travels by bringing this little handy device along. It's called the Auto Pilot, a talking road navigator. It cost $40 and it supposedly tells you where to go, but Does It Work?

We found out quickly you have to study the instructions and practice first. But if you want to test it, you have to take it on the road. "Once we get on Interstate 27, we're going to see if we can find the nearest gas station," said NewsChannel 11's Cecelia Coy.

After you turn it on, it will prompt you to enter which state you're traveling in, then a highway. "Select highway," said the Auto Pilot. I hit next until I-27 was the option. Then it prompts you to hit a direction. I hit "N" for North.

"I've got to enter a mile marker," Cecelia said. I typed in mile marker 7 in Lubbock. "It says there's a Dairy Queen, a steakhouse, and a Conoco on exit 21. "Looks like they will be in Abernathy."

We found our Conoco. Gas was $1.55. Across the driveway was the Dairy Queen. The attendant there said a steakhouse was about one block away.

The Auto Pilot lets you find your route from city to city. But it's got to be one of the major cities in the back of the manual so it's limited to where you can go.

We're going from Lubbock to Dallas. The instructions say to punch the "full route" button. Then hit T-X. Then the city you're leaving, in this case, Lubbock. It told me to punch in the state I'm traveling to, which is T-X. The city, "D" for Dallas. Immediately, the Pilot gave me the approximate travel time of 350 miles 5 hours 50 minutes. Then it gave me the directions U 84 East to I-20 east to I-30 East. "That sounds about right. I'm from Dallas and I take that route," said Cecelia.

Now, we wanted to find the closest hospital from Abernathy heading South on I-27. And this is where we ran into some problems with the Auto Pilot. "Exit in 74 miles," it said. That doesn't make sense to me. If we're heading South toward Lubbock, it should tell me the nearest hospital is in Lubbock, not in Plainview.

Another big lie the Auto Pilot was telling us, the closest motel. "Days Inn, exit in one mile," it said. "In Amarillo? This thing has got to be kidding me!"

For $40, you should have more faith in your travel companion. The Auto Pilot is limited in it's use, you can't punch up other roads besides Interstates. That's just too much money for this gadget. It doesn't work!

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