A team of Spanish researchers has developed a way to vastly improve in-car GPS navigation — and all it requires is some cheap, extra sensors.

It's one of those why-didn't-they-think-of-that-earlier moments. By adding accelerometers and gyroscopes to a car's navigation system, the researchers from Spain claim that they can pinpoint a car's location to within 2 metres. That's far better than the current commercial GPS used in cars, which manages about 15 metres at best, or up to 50 metres in heavily built-up cities.

The best bit, as the BBC reports, is that such a system could be retrofitted to any car, and it wouldn't be particularly expensive. The newly added sensors simply provide accurate speed and direction information, which combined with the GPS data provide more accurate results. The team is even planning to try and integrate the technology into a smartphone:

"We are now starting to work on the integration of this data fusion system into a mobile telephone. It can integrate all of the measurements that come from its sensors in order to obtain the same result that we have now, but at an even much lower cost, since it is something that almost everyone can carry around in their pocket."

And that sounds like a direction we'd all like to go in. [BBC]