Google adds EV charging stations to Google Maps, as the Royal Academy of Engineering warns we rely too much on satnavs

Google adds EV charging stations to Google Maps, as the Royal Academy of Engineering warns we rely too much on satnavs

Scientists at the Royal Academy of Engineering warned that developed nations have become “dangerously over-reliant” on satellite navigation systems. The application of the technology is now so broad—from in-car GPS to commercial aircraft navigation and cargo tracking to the opening and closing of train doors at railroad stations—that without adequate backup technical difficulties or deliberate interference could lead to devastating results. “A significant failure of GPS could cause lots of services to fail at the same time, including many that are thought to be completely independent of each other,” says Martyn Thomas, who led the Academy’s work on the issue. The Academy urges greater awareness of the security risks, tougher action on the sale of cheap jammers, and efforts to boost the resilience of antennae and receivers.

The city of Hong Kong announced plans to create a new Traffic and Incident Management System. The computerized system would facilitate faster responses to accidents, improve traffic control, and distribute real-time information to drivers. It also would connect all relevant stakeholders, like the Hong Kong Police Force, the Highways Department, public transport operators, and onsite incident response teams. The city pledged HK$100 million to the project, which is expected to be tested and commissioned by 2015.

Google added traffic rerouting to Google Maps Navigation. The free app, still in beta, will now automatically steer drivers around traffic jams and accidents. The app will use a combination of real-time and historical traffic data to determine new routes. At a recent conference, Google announced that 40 percent of Google Maps usage is now on mobile devices, which works out to 150 million mobile users.

Google also added EV charging stations to Google Maps, making it easy for EV owners to search for nearby stations. Xatori released PlugShare iOS, an iPhone app that allows EV drivers to search for available charging stations in their areas. The app contains a database of public stations and personal stations of EV owners who are willing to share their home chargers.

Telmap announced a new business package that enables mobile operators to bundle local search, mapping, and turn-by-turn navigation into customer subscriptions. Those mobile operators that commit to introducing location-based services across their entire customer bases will receive a heavily discounted rate from Telmap for the basic local search, mapping, and navigation features. Operators, in turn, can leverage location-based advertising and offer location-based services to consumers for free, thereby increasing customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Global Mobile Alert launched its distracted driving mitigation app in most European countries. The app is an early warning system that produces a distinct audible alert to warn drivers of an approaching traffic light, railroad crossing, or school zone—with a unique tone for each circumstance. The app is available in the Android Market app store and is already on the market in the US and Canada.

Intermap Technologies unveiled 3D Roads, a dataset that provides highly accurate 3D models for every road, from the largest highway to the smallest urban and rural roads, throughout Western Europe. The dataset is built from a radar-generated 2D road network combined with height information from a digital terrain model. Vehicle safety systems and energy management systems can use 3D Roads to enhance a vehicle’s efficiency, utility, and safety.

On the ADAS front, Freescale Semiconductor announced a new family of Qorivva 32-bit microcontrollers designed to make driver assistance systems more accessible for a broad range of vehicles. The microcontrollers give safety system designers the ability to engineer safety features—like blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning systems, side view assistance, and adaptive headlights—with fewer additional external signal processing components.

JLT Mobile Computers launched a new mobile computer with broadband and GPS intended for the transport and logistics industry. The in-vehicle computer, dubbed the JLT 1214S, provides a mobile office solution for the truck cab. In addition to satellite navigation, cab drivers can receive orders and communicate with customers and their transport offices using voice, video, instant messaging, SMS, and email.

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