News

Finalist in the Mobility Solutions Innovation Award

Another jury of experts has selected us as a finalist in an innovation award. We are very pleased and proud of this award. Read more about the competition and all participants in the Founders Magazine. You can find us on page 38.

Open Founders Magazine (German)…

Release 1.6

It’s going on with big steps: there is now already the second Routago Assist update in this still young year. Thank you for such great feedback to all our users! We have made many big and small improvements that you have asked for.

  • Improved favorites management and the ability to save entire routes so they can be reused unchanged
  • We have completely redesigned the “My Routes” feature (we used to call it “Routes”). Now all routes can be previewed and managed comfortably. Try swiping on an entry in the list (in VoiceOver in the actions). We also improved the import of trail files from other sources: download a nice walk from a hiking or tourism portal.
  • We have enhanced the navigation display to show more information about upcoming route points. You can now play back the last announcement by shaking the iPhone or by pressing a button (VoiceOver “Repeat Announcement”).
  • Our alignment help, with which you can always find the route or find it again, you can now reach quickly and easily with the direction arrow at any time during navigation (VoiceOver “Turn on alignment”)
  • If you want to hear less detailed announcements of Routago, you can now turn off the announcement of turns in the settings in the menu item Navigation under “Instructions”. Path turns are for us all changes of direction of a path, which are not at an intersection. So as soon as paths meet, or other important waypoints come, you still get the appropriate information, of course.

As always, we have still improved many small things, it is always worth to call the release notes in the app in the help menu. We wish you many more good routes with Routago!

Release 1.5

This time we have improved two points in particular that were mentioned to us by our users:

  • When starting a route, we now do not start the alignment guide automatically. Our users have told us that they usually know very well in which direction to start walking. And if it’s ever not clear, or they lose their bearings along the way, our alignment aid is always there at their request. So they can always be guided safely back to the route.
  • The search for destinations now provides more and more precise results. Now you can be guided (almost) everywhere.

In addition, as always, we have improved a few small things. We wish you many more good ways with Routago!

Screenshot der Warnmeldung Routenabweichung mit Text "Sie sind von der Route abgekommen. Bitte wählen Sie eine Option". Darunter drei Buttons für die Optionen Zurück zur Route, Neue Route, Navigation beenden.

Release 1.4 published

We are pleased to release the next version of Routago. In version 1.4 we have addressed the issue of “deviation from the route”. Using different criteria, Routago now detects if the user has deviated from the planned route. This detection is configurable by the user in the route deviation settings, so that an individual behavior can be set. Details can be found in the tutorial and release notes in the app.

In addition, we have implemented the following improvements in version 1.4:

  • The compass now works for all device orientations even when the orientation lock is enabled.
  • The display stays on during navigation
  • The “Where am I?” function additionally shows your position on the map
  • VoiceOver improvements
  • And as always some more optimizations and bug fixes

We wish you a lot of fun with the new version!

Logo of the finalists of the German Digital Award 2020

Routago in the finals of the German Digital Award!

We didn’t quite make it onto the podium, but we are very proud to have been voted into the finals of this prestigious award by the recognized jury of experts. What a great success and a confirmation for all those who work with us on barrier-free, smart pedestrian navigation.

https://award.handelsblatt.com/the-spark/invitation-only/

Logo des InnovationFestivals bei karlsruhe.digitak

Routago at InnovationFestival@karlsruhe.digital

On October 16, 2020, the first InnovationFestival@karlsruhe.digital took place – showing 2,000 viewers from 16 countries the digital innovation power of the TechnologieRegion Karlsruhe via livestream. Here is the recording of our presentation.
OFFICIAL COVERAGE (GERMAN)…

Podcast Interview

Christian Stahlberg from the Bavarian Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (BBSB – Bayerischer Blinden- und Sehbehindertenbund e.V.) talked to us in his podcast Sightviews about the background, motivation and goals of Routago company and Routago Assist.

Podcast on Sightviews (GERMAN)…

Radio clip on SWR1

The radio station Südwestrundfunk reports on August 9th, 2020 in the show “SWR1-Arbeitsplatz” about Routago Assist.

To re-listen in the SWR-Mediathek from 16:30 min or directly via the following link.

Listen to the radio clip (GERMAN)

Routago Assist – in new release 1.3 free until August 31st, 2020

Routago Assist has been released in a new version. In line with the gradual relaxations, we want to support the return of mobility also for blind and visually impaired people with a special offer: until 31.08.2020 the new version can be used by everyone free of charge and without restrictions.

  • We have focused entirely on pedestrian navigation and have greatly improved all areas there.
    • We have completely revised the generation of safe routes. In some cases, therefore, the routes will be changed from previous versions and will be even more suitable for pedestrians due to higher accuracy and precision.
    • We have also greatly improved the route tracing, the turn-by-turn navigation. The accuracy of the GPS signal is the big challenge for all navigation systems. We have already achieved a significant improvement in accuracy in the last version through our sophisticated mathematical model of position determination. In the current version, we have gone one step further and included the sensors in the calculation and prediction of the position.
    • In order for us to be allowed to use the sensor data to improve positioning, the right to access “Motion and Fitness” (in the app “Settings” -> “Privacy”) must be allowed in the system settings for Routago Assist.
    • We have made the route instructions more streamlined and precise. We have shortened and thinned out the messages to announce significantly less without, however, leaving out important information.
    • The more precise guidance is now also integrated into the arrow and distance display. Distance and arrival time are constantly updated.
  • We have made the navigation start screen simpler and merged some less used settings and functions under the “Options” button.
  • There is a new function “Free crossing in pedestrian zones”. In pedestrian zones there are often no explicit footpaths. Routago Assist now offers the option to follow virtual lines of sight and thus cross freely on a direct path within a pedestrian area. Mapped obstacles like fountains or similar are avoided. The use of free crossing is enabled by default and can be disabled in the navigation options.
  • During a navigation, the alignment aid can now be switched on and off at any time. You know the alignment aid from the start of a route. This function can now be switched on and off at any time via Button or Rotor. You can use it to aim at the next point on the route and thus bring yourself back on the right course. When the route is started, the alignment aid for the starting point finding is immediately active and switches off automatically after the starting point has been reached. However, you can also switch off the alignment aid yourself during the start point search. The button for this is now directly accessible in the navigation screen.

Release 1.2 now available

The next version of Routago Assist again brings great new features and improvements:

  • Significant improvement of navigation: route announcements are now much more precise, including exact now announcements like “turn now” and “destination reached” announcements” Ansagen
  • More detailed wayfinding announcements for easier orientation: as far as possible, the announcement of barriers, stairs with directions or the equipment of pedestrian lights with regard to sound and vibration is now carried out
  • In addition, as always, there are general performance improvements and bug fixes
SightCity Logo

Unfortunately, SightCity was cancelled this year due to the Corona pandemic. For the protection of all visitors and exhibitors certainly the right and necessary step, even if we regret this of course.


Routago at SightCity 2020 in Frankfurt

We are particularly pleased to be able to present our mobility assistant Routago Assist at SightCity in Frankfurt this year. At the booth of F.H. Papenmeier GmbH & Co. KG, we will be represented as a research partner. This gives us the opportunity to present the Routago platform and the latest developments in pedestrian navigation for the blind and visually impaired to a broad audience.

App guides blind people safely through the streets

Ettlingen-based start-up develops “Routago”, a digital assistance system for visually impaired people

by our employee Monika John

Blind and visually impaired people have a hard time finding their way around the city. They can now be helped with a new type of navigation system. “We are revolutionizing the mobility of blind and visually impaired people with a digital assistance system on their smartphone,” explain Gerd Güldenpfennig and Stefan Siebert, the founders and managing directors of the young Routago GmbH in Ettlingen. “If you close your eyes and put yourself in the position of a blind person looking for a safe route to the train station, for example, you immediately understand the challenges faced by around 285 million blind and visually impaired people worldwide. Common navigation solutions treat pedestrians like slow cars. Pedestrian bridges and underpasses, parks, crosswalks and smaller paths are not taken into account.” 

“That changes with the Routago assistance system,” Siebert emphasizes. A key feature of navigation, he says, is determining an optimized route for the user. For a blind person, he says, it may be safer to take a detour than to cross a street directly. A wheelchair user will get a route that contains few inclines, avoids stairs and includes ramps. Routago also provides information about objects in the environment and can plot routes. “All of this is continuously improved through machine learning,” Siebert said. 

Routago emerged from an interdisciplinary research project that started in 2016 and was successfully completed in 2019. The project was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and was awarded first place at the “Galileo Masters Baden-Württemberg” in 2018. 

According to Stefan Siebert, the participation of blind people in the entire development process was essential to its success. For example, central concepts such as speech output or operation had been developed at the Study Center for the Visually Impaired at KIT, he said. Already in the first phase of the project, the participating company iXpoint decided to develop a product from the results, to launch it on the market and to spin off this area from the company. To this end, Güldenpfennig and Siebert founded Routago GmbH. At the end of January, they went to market with Routago Assist. The app has since been available in the App Store. The annual subscription costs 59.99 euros. 

“We want to have reached 300,000 customers worldwide by three years,” says Siebert, formulating a company goal. The path to this goal leads through associations and clubs, mobility trainers, schools and trade fairs. First in the region, then nationwide. The founders expect a lot from their presence in the digital media. It is well known that blind and visually impaired people communicate intensively via these channels. In order to finance market entry and growth, the young company welcomes investors according to the business angels concept. 

The vision of the young company from Ettlingen is the mobility of people in the digitalized city of the future. According to the company’s founders, this opens up large and highly topical mobility markets such as urban mobility, smart cities, transportation and logistics, as well as opportunities to support medical research.

Routago Assist on television and radio

The Südwestrundfunk TV station showed a report about us in the news “SWR Aktuell” on January 29th, 2020. In addition, an interview was broadcast on the same day on the radio station SWR4.

SWR-Aktuell TV report (GERMAN)…

Routago Assist now public available in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

After once again very busy and exciting weeks, we have reached our most important stage goal:

Routago Assist has arrived in the App Store and can be downloaded!

Everybody can try Routago Assist on his iPhone for two weeks for free

With Routago Assist, we are closing a big gap to enable more mobility for blind and visually impaired people. We have made the most important step and will realize many wishes for improvements and more features through continuous development.