Garmin goes for real-time traffic service in Germany

Garmin goes for real-time traffic service in Germany

By Andrew Tolve

Garmin unveiled a comprehensive, real-time traffic service in Germany, the first of its kind in Europe. The service is provided through NAVTEQ Traffic and channels detailed information on road construction, traffic speeds, and accidents to Garmin devices.

The goal is to create more direct, time-efficient routes for customers. A recent survey from ComScore showed that mobile mapping and navigation use has increased 66 percent in Europe in the past year. But with that growth has come higher expectations for more than rudimentary A to B directions.

“We are committed to helping our customers save time and money, and accurate real-time traffic information will contribute to more efficient and cost-effective routing,” says Clive Taylor, product marketing manager, Garmin Europe.

Drivers using navigation devices with traffic information spend 18 percent less time driving per trip, according to a recent German study from NAVTEQ. Distances traveled were reduced and fuel efficiencies increased, which decreased each driver's CO2 emissions by 21 percent.

Google extends free nav services

This week Google announced that its free satellite navigation service will be made available on all European smartphones in the coming year. The first launch will take place in the UK, followed shortly thereafter by France and other EU member states. Google Maps GPS navigation, which includes voice recognition and turn-by-turn navigation, was first launched in the US a year ago and has significantly cut into the profit margins of the PND industry.

TomTom reports revenue increase

TomTom reported a revenue increase of 26 percent in the first quarter of 2010. That translated into a net profit of €3.1 million, whereas analysts had forecast a net loss of €0.4 million. Last year, the company lost €37 million in the first quarter, a result driven by the global recession and the rise of free navigation services from Google and Microsoft. TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn attributed the growth to the company’s shift away from PND devices to content and services.

Ford embraces the app revolution

Ford announced SYNC AppLink, a service that allows drivers to voice control apps on their Blackberry and Android smartphones. The 2011 Ford Fiesta will be the first car in the Ford fleet to feature the service. Ford also announced a Mobile Application Developer Network that will allow developers to design smartphone apps with SYNC AppLink in mind.

“The growth in smartphone mobile apps has been explosive, and Ford has worked hard to respond at the speed of the consumer electronics market,” says Doug VanDagens, director of Ford’s Connected Services Organization.

Ford new Start Concept car

Ford debuted a new concept car, the Start Concept, at the Beijing International Auto Show. The car boasts a three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, which purports to deliver the horsepower of a traditional four-cylinder engine with significantly reduced CO2 emissions. It also features the MyFord Mobile concept technology, a touch-screen panel that allows drivers to control in-car functions like heat, radio, and navigation as well as interact with smartphone apps.

eCall gets eight steps closer

Eight more European Union member states pledged their support for the eCall initiative, which means 23 of 27 members states now support the European-wide emergency service. If enacted, eCall will automatically inform emergency response professionals about the whereabouts of an accident, regardless if drivers speak the local language or know their exact location. The most significant holdout is the UK, which maintains that the benefits of the service don’t justify the expense of implementation. For more on eCall, see ‘Has eCall’s Moment Finally Arrived?’.

Alabama overhauls emergency response

Alabama announced plans to expand emergency response beyond the limits of the telephone line. The new system will allow citizens and dispatchers to communicate by way of text messaging or video messaging, and will enable dispatchers to receive information from in-vehicle telematics units and services, like OnStar, in case of an accident. If successful, the emergency response overhaul could serve as a model for other states in the U.S. to follow.

MiX Telematics ventures south

MiX Telematics, a global provider of vehicle tracking and fleet management products and solutions, announced a strategic partnership with the Colombian company Equitel to extend its market presence into South America. As MiX Telematics' regional partner, Equitel will be responsible for driving the sales and support of MiX's fleet products and solutions, including the FM Communicator and FM-Web throughout the region.

Metro Traffic upgrade

Metro Traffic, a leading supplier of traffic information to radio, TV, mobile, navigation, and automotive markets, announced plans to make its nationwide network faster and more accurate. Throughout 2010, Metro Traffic will implement TIC, a state-of-the-art data processing platform, so that it’s operation teams, producers, and reporters can locate, collect, and reference traffic information in real-time. The improvement should impact everyone from radio listeners to navigation device users.


Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

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