ALK has announced the next version of its sat-nav software for smartphones. CoPilot Live 9 will be available for iPhone and Android some time in the Spring and includes a host of improvements over the current version 8 of the app — although ALK isn’t revealing them all just yet.

Among the new features the option to choose between three different routes to any particular destination and the ability to manually edit a route by dragging it around on-screen, which is useful for avoiding areas you know to be troublesome, but the mapping data does not.

CoPilot Live 9’s interface has also been revamped to make it easier to use, with many features now available from a menu that appears when you tap the map, so there’s no need to click through the menu system to find something out.

According to ALK, the app’s ‘live’ services have also been tweaked. Maps are still stored on the smartphone itself, but an internet connection provides access to real-time ‘ActiveTraffic’ traffic information for instant journey re-routing (although this feature is currently found in version 8 of the app). Microsoft’s Bing search engine is now built-in too, so you don’t need to exit the app just to look something up online.

For travellers who like to share their every move with a bunch of complete strangers online, social networking features are a new addition too, with the option to transmit your current location to Facebook and Twitter.

There’s no news on pricing for CoPilot Live 9 just yet, but since the current version 8 is a very reasonable £20 for the UK and Ireland maps, it will hopefully cost about the same.

There’s no news on specific large vehicle support, either — the current app does offer an RV option for journey planning, but you’ll need the £85 CoPilot Live 8 Truck if you want to specify vehicle dimensions and weight. We’ll update you once we know more about that specific aspect of the app, but here are some other new features in the meantime:

  • Park my Car: to save the exact location of your car and easily find it later
  • Trip Statistics: an in-app view of mileage, fuel consumption and other useful information about your previous journeys
  • Door to door trip planning: Enter up to 50 stops and optimise the itinerary
  • Photo Navigation: drive to a geo-tagged picture taken by your smartphone
  • Copy/paste a destination into the address entry screen
  • Enhanced map features with clearly labelled parks, rivers and lakes as well as country-specific road colours
  • Detour feature: immediately find the best way around unexpected delay
  • Millions of points of interest (POI) pre-loaded
  • Live Weather information
  • Live Fuel Prices (premium option)
  • In-app news and updates to keep you informed about improvements
  • Hints and tips: Context sensitive help is available throughout the app

[ALK CoPilot Live]