Caught on camera Weekly Brief—5.7.12

In this week's Brief: TomTom, OnStar, Sirius XM Radio, Volkswagen of America, Telesat Corp, World Surveillance Group, IDC Research Firm, and the European Commission

TomTom waded into the speedcam market with the release of its TomTom Speed Camera app for iPhone. Powered by a driving community with 1.6 million drivers in 15 European countries, the app gives drivers access to fixed and mobile speed camera alerts.

It includes real-time customer reports from drivers that share newly added or removed cameras with each other. It also gives drivers 95 percent coverage of fixed camera locations and real-time updates for mobile speed cameras.

Additionally, the app offers average speed check support.

“We all know that confident driving is safer driving,” says Gerry Hinds, vice president mobile at TomTom. “And that’s why we’re so pleased that we can now offer this accessible service to a much larger segment of the driving community.”

OnStar temporarily reduced the price of its aftermarket product, OnStar FMV. OnStar FMV will now cost $99.99 with installation included. The cost of the telematics services won’t go up or down, instead will remain at $18.95 a month or $199 a year.

Directions and Corrections, through which drivers can access turn-by-turn navigation, will still go for $28.90 a month or $299 annually. The promotion will run from May 6 until June 16.

Sirius XM Radio and Volkswagen of America announced that customers who purchase 2013 model year vehicles equipped with RNS 510 and RNS 850 navigation systems will receive a four-year subscription to SiriusXM Traffic.

The subscription will povide access to traffic speed and flow information along with accident information to assist drivers in routing around congested areas.

Qualifying Volkswagen customers will also receive a three-month subscription to SiriusXM Travel Link.

Volvo add several new high-tech features to a full deck of safety and support systems across its consumer segment.

The new features include a world-first pedestrian airbag technology, a lane keeping aid with haptic auto steering, a park assist pilot, automatic road sign information, active high beam, and a cross traffic alert radar system at the rear.
The all-new V40 also features the pedestrian detection with full auto brake as well as the City Safety further developed low-speed collision avoidance system, which now operates at speeds up to 50 km/h.

One of the largest emergency response organizations in the U.S. hired Telesat Corp, subsidiary of the World Surveillance Group, to provide satellite-based tracking services. The contract was awarded to provide specifically for the GPS tracking of mass care equipment trailers.

The contract requires GTC to provide specialized satellite tracking devices, satellite airtime and online mapping capabilities as part of a disaster preparedness and emergency relief program to locate and monitor the movements of a variety of the organization's mobile assets across the U.S.                   

The smartphone market rose 42.5 percent year over year in Q1 2012, according to a new report from IDC research firm. So far this year vendors have shipped roughly 145 million smartphones, versus 102 million units in same quarter the previous year.

These results are impressive when compared to the performance of the overall mobile phone market, which declined 1.5 percent (roughly 400 million to 398.4 million units.)

The publication European Voice reported that eCall legislation has again stalled out in the European Commission, this time over the question of cars outfitted with an embedded telematics system that comes preinstalled by the car manufacturer and calls a private dispatcher in case of emergency.

Should these vehicles be required to be fitted with a new system that automatically calls a public dispatcher and emergency system in the event of a collision or should they be given a free pass on the eCall unit?
Proponents of uniform adoption of eCall point out that private dispatchers currently have a market penetration of less than half a percent in the EU, and none of them provide EU-wide coverage.

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