WHAT3WORDS addressing the world: a valuable “human centric” technology for the automotive industry

3 words to reach the destination


WHAT3WORDS technology

What is the most used way to communicate any kind of information between people? For sure is the voice and more precise and good are our skills in describing situations, events and sharing news and more effective will be our spoken communication.

I am talking about an innovative solution implemented by WHAT3WORDS, a London based company that has given a “human approach” in sharing and memorizing post codes, satellite coordinates, geohahes, X addresses and Plus Codes.

How? Simply pronouncing 3 words that define a unique address with a precision that a Post Code can never have…easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Mine can sound like a joke, but having constantly an eye on the last trends and solutions available on the market for the Automotive World, we have found a completely innovative way to set up an address on a satellite navigator or into a mobile app.

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WHAT3WORDS has divided the entire earth into a grid of 3×3 meters and each element of the grid is identifiable by unique 3 words, that for sure are easier to remember more than a random digits or letters sequence.

We have tested the on-line platform looking for the “Totteridge & Whetstone” underground station in London and it looks really efficient and being based on a 3×3 grid it is able to index exactly every shops’ entrance on the same road: goal achieved!

You can try to imagine how your life would be much easier using this approach in a heavy urbanized area to book a taxi, into a busy train station with dozens of platforms or in case of a car accident where you need of road side assistance along a motor way.

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3 WORD ADDRESSES in action

In the example below I have positioned the main cursor exactly on the side of the platform that brings to London centre, in this way sharing the 3 words “” with any user that has the mobile app, he will be able to reach me “exactly” on the platform of the underground station and not at the entrance, things that will happen sharing the standard post code N20 9QH.

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Edit text fields making your address research or click and drag on the frame below to have an easy understanding of how it works.

Automotive Industry

Another reason for writing this article is because some major players the Automotive Industry has already adopted 3 word addresses  as built-in solution.

Mercedes-Benz is launching the world’s first car with built-in what3words voice navigation, Jaguar Land Rover has integrated what3words into Land Rover’s ARDHI off-roading app, Navmii (the award-winning smart navigation and traffic app) has integrated what3words so its 26 million users can always find their way, DXC Technology (drone app and software company) uses what3words with Amazon Alexa to direct drones, Next Future Transportation mobility company develops smart, autonomous transportation modules with WHAT3WORDS on board and Local Motors Local Motors and IBM have built what3words into self-driving shuttle Olli.

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WHAT3WORDS tools on the market

The app is available on the App Store and on Google Play, but at same time WHAT3WORDS shares the API to integrate the tool on web platforms as well.

3 word addresses by WHAT3WORDS can be used alongside regular street address and POI searches, with voice or text entry.


WHAT3WORDS offers mobile SDK,  a lightweight piece of code that integrates directly into a car’s infotainment system, allowing drivers to enter 3 word addresses completely offline. The SDK converts 3 word addresses into GPS coordinates for routing using the car’s in-built navigation software.

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Online API

For models already on the road, a simple software update can add 3 word address functionality via the Cloud, just like any other online address search. This instantly converts 3 word addresses to coordinates for in-car navigation. The API and SDK can also be built into smartphone and IoT applications, adding 3 word address functionality to ride-hailing, trip planning and other mobility services.

So a nice thinking…into a not so far next future I will look for my friends with just “3 words” having a seat into a self-driving vehicle… That’s Cool!

Raffaele Schiavullo
the authorRaffaele Schiavullo
ADMINISTRATOR - Senior 3D/Virtual Reality Specialist and Automotive HMI developer - Working in London and "insanely" passionate about technology and its creative applications


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