Ford announces in-car health and wellness solutions, as Ctrack launches pay-how-you-drive insurance in the UK

Ford announces in-car health and wellness solutions, as Ctrack launches pay-how-you-drive insurance in the UK

Ford announced a series of health and wellness in-car connectivity solutions designed to empower people with self-help information while they drive. The solutions will leverage Ford SYNC and its ability to connect devices via Bluetooth, access cloud-based Internet services, and control smartphone apps. Ford envisions an array of health aids in its Health and Wellness connectivity portfolio, like glucose monitoring devices, diabetes management services, asthma management tools, and Web-based allergen alert solutions. Leading healthcare industry experts are contributing to the project, including medical device maker Medtronic and mobile health pioneer WellDoc. “Ford SYNC is well known in the industry and with consumers as a successful in-car infotainment system, but we want to broaden the paradigm, transforming SYNC into a tool that can help improve people’s lives as well as the driving experience,” said Paul Mascarenas, chief technology officer and vice president, Ford Research and Innovation.

Ctrack ventured into the UK insurance telematics market with Ctrack Intelligent Insurance, a telematics solution that enables vehicle insurers in the UK to rate how, when, where, and by whom a vehicle is driven. It’s one of the first pay-how-you-drive, rather than pay-as-you-drive, solutions on the market. The device indicates whether a specific road speed limit was violated, and its accelerometer signals any swerving, harsh cornering or braking, and excessive acceleration. (For more on insurance telematics, join the sector’s other key players at Insurance Telematics USA 2011.)

INRIX introduced version 3.0 of its INRIX Traffic app, which includes new features and upgrades. The new Comparative Traffic feature breaks down what’s abnormal about current traffic conditions, using easy coloring to show where traffic is worse and better than usual. Version 3.0 also includes One Tap Reporting, which makes it simple to report incidents and accidents or to inform the INRIX system that the color of a specific traffic segment is wrong.

Audi released eKurzinfo, an iPhone app that puts a virtual user manual in the driver’s pocket. The app uses the iPhone’s camera like a target finder: Whatever it homes in on—the stereo, the AC dial, the rearview mirror—the app identifies. Drivers can watch videos and read all the related information on the selected feature. The app is currently available free in the Apple App Store and exclusively for the Audi A1.

On the infotainment front, mp3Car and customGadz unveiled Mimics Dash, an aftermarket solution that transforms an iPhone 4 into a top-of-the-line car stereo navigation unit. Mimics allows drivers to control their iPhone 4s via the dash-installed monitor in their vehicles. It also gives them unrestricted access to all of their personal content, applications, and media in the dash of their cars. Mimics is currently available for pre-order on the mp3Car store starting at $205.

Similarly, Delphi Automotive announced a new suite of infotainment systems, the MyFi family, which allows drivers to duplicate their smartphone displays on the dash of their vehicles. In addition, the systems allow drivers to dictate text messages and utilize a state-of-the-art navigation engine that recognizes when drivers are low on fuel and automatically directs them to the nearest and lowest-cost gas station. Delphi has introduced its first MyFi infotainment system on the Audi A1 in Europe and plans to unveil the rest of the MyFi family in the coming twelve months.

Elektrobit added a new feature to its navigation software development kit that lets carmakers and suppliers integrate connected services, like Aloqa, into their navigation offering. Aloqa is a popular app on many mobile phone platforms that gives consumers access to a variety of content channels, like Wikipedia and Qype. Integrating these various channels into a comprehensive navigation solution can create more compelling location-based services and POI content without adding exorbitant cost.

GE Capital Fleet Services launched a new interactive eco website dedicated to alternative vehicles and services. The website provides information, tools, and educational materials to serve as a resource to help companies green their vehicle fleets. As part of the website, GE Capital Fleet Services has sections dedicated to Business Solutions and Driver Solutions to educate fleets and drivers on alternative vehicles and environmental performance. “The launch of the new eco website builds on our commitment to the electric vehicle industry by providing our customers with tools to enhance their fleets and convey the benefits of leasing and operating alternative fuel vehicles,” said Deb Frodl, chief strategy officer for GE Capital Fleet Services.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.
For all the latest telematics trends, join the sector’s thought leaders at Telematics Detroit 2011 in Novi, MI on June 8 and 9.

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