BMW unveils “The Ultimate Drive” Weekly Brief—8.15.11

In this week’s Brief: Smith System, BMW Group Financial Services, BMW, RealVNC, iGO My way, Nokia, GLONASS, Samsung, u-blox, and Opel.

 Smith System introduced Smith360, Full Circle Driver Management, the first telematics solution fully integrated with on-road driver training.

The Smith360 GO5 module is a simple plug and play device that uses GPS, wireless communication, and accelerometer technology to supply driver performance and vehicle dynamics information.

A web-based dashboard allows fleet managers to clearly see trends in driver training effectiveness plus gain other valuable information for fuel efficiency, route planning, tax reporting, and vehicle maintenance.

Smith360 is a cooperative effort between Geotab and Smith System. “We have evaluated a variety of approaches to supporting our training initiatives through technology and found Geotab to be best in its combination of cost, installation simplicity, data integrity, and reporting quality,” says Tony Douglas, CEO of Smith System.

“Smith360 allows us to offer fleets a predictive, real-time monitoring solution tied directly to our proven training tactics that change driver behavior.”

BMW Group Financial Services unveiled “The Ultimate Drive,” a social navigation mobile app that allows users to discover the best roads to drive in more than 50 countries.

Drivers can also rank, comment, and share those roads via Facebook, email, or other GPS devices.

Future versions will integrate the ability for customers to gain points and achieve high rankings.

Software firm SocialNav developed the technology that powers “The Ultimate Drive.” The app is free and available for both iOS and Android devices.

 BMW announced a new enhancement to the ConnectedDrive system. The “Text-to-Speech” feature for Facebook and Twitter now has an associated “play button” that allows all comments and news items in Twitter or Facebook to be read to the driver using text-to-speech technology.

When a new messaged is received, the driver can select the play button and have the message read to them through the vehicles audio system.

Customers can integrate the feature by accepting the free update to the BMW Connected app via Apple’s App Store.

RealVNC became a core member of the Car Connectivity Consortium. The Consortium is committed to creating an open and common standard for integrating mobile devices and apps into the in-car environment and delivering a seamless, safe, and effortless user experience.

The international Consortium is backing the Terminal Mode specification, based on VNC technology, which has been published by Nokia and CE4A. RealVNC joins other core members Delphi, Denso, Ixonos, Sony, and jambi.

 iGO My way added speed safety camera alerts to the iGO primo app for iPhone. The app will now dispaly speed limits on the screen while voice announcements automatically remind drivers when they have crossed the speed limit.

In addition, drivers can extend their app services with the Safety Camera database in iTunes. If they download this database through in-app purchasing, they will be alerted in time before approaching fixed radar stations.

Speed camera information in the iGO primo app is available only for those countries where speed camera warnings are permitted.

 The Russian government announced that Nokia, the largest handset vendor in Russia, will support GLONASS, the Russian equivalent to U.S. GPS.

The Russian government has suggested that handset vendors that don’t support GLONASS will incur increased tax duties starting in 2012.

Future Nokia phones in Russia will likely include chipsets that support both GPS and GLONASS, according to Alexander Gurko, chief executive at GLONASS NIS.

 Samsung selected u-blox’s latest-generation GPS chip, UBX-G6010-ST, for the entire line of Samsung SEN car navigation devices. This line of devices is headlined by the SEN-410, Samsung’s most sophisticated multimedia navigator with 3D display and high-definition 7-inch touchscreen.

u-blox’s GPS chip will help Samsung provide Korea’s first 3D aerial visualization of routes, as well as real-time traffic information, gesture recognition for menu commands, text-to speech feature, and free automatic software upgrade for life.

Opel released the specs of the 2012 Opel Insignia, which include plans for state-of-the-art infotainment systems, either the Navi 600 or the Navi 900 Europa.

All of the map material will be stored on SD cards, and the maps can be adapted to suit individual customer needs. In addition to the default points of interest, further POIs can be downloaded and stored on the device.

The driver can select single points and store these in the address book as individual POIs. Beyond displaying the fastest and shortest routes, the navigation system allows drivers to select the most economical routes that will lead to the lowest fuel consumption.



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