Google launches live traffic in 13 European countries, as Harman announces participation in the ng Connect Program.

Google launches live traffic in 13 European countries, as Harman announces participation in the ng Connect Program.

HARMAN announced its participation in the ng Connect Program, the multi-industry open innovation ecosystem founded by Alcatel-Lucent. Harman’s role in the program will be to advance innovations that connect digital devices and platforms so that cars become a natural extension of the office and the home. Harman will also act as an industry steward for safety, ensuring that all automotive technology strides occur such that a driver’s hands never leave the wheel and eyes never leave the road. “Our vision of bringing an ecosystem for complete connectivity to consumers on a massive scale—whether they’re in the car, at home, or on the go—syncs perfectly with the ng Connect mission,” says Sachin Lawande, chief technology officer of Harman. “We are thrilled to be on board.”

OnStar FMV, OnStar’s aftermarket telematics system, hit the U.S. market on July 24. The solution is available at Best Buy stores nationwide and provides the same core features as the OnStar service, including automatic crash response, turn-by-turn navigation, hands-free calling, emergency services, and roadside assistance. Customers can find out if OnStar FMV is compatible with their vehicles through an online Vehicle Selector. Best Buy offers on-site installation. OnStar FMV costs $299.99, plus $75 for installation. Service plans start at $18.95 a month or $199 a year.

OnStar also rebranded its mobile app, formerly named “OnStar MyLink,” as “OnStar RemoteLink.” OnStar hopes to improve customer understanding of the mobile app and infotainment offerings across Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac. The app will continue to provide drivers with up-to-date vehicle information such as oil level, tire pressure, and lifetime miles per gallon. The name change appeared in the Android and iPhone marketplaces on July 15; current users of the app received notifications on their smartphones.

Google launched live traffic information in 13 European countries. The information is presented in a live traffic layer that’s embedded in Google Maps, Google Maps for mobile, and Google Maps Navigation (beta). Drivers with Android, iOS, and mobile browsers will have automatic access to the layer. Traffic regularly updates to highlight traffic events from the last five to 10 minutes. The 13 countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, and Switzerland.

TomTom and Coulomb Technologies joined forces to extend ChargePoint Network driver services into electric vehicles. The ChargePoint Network is a global online network that connects EV drivers to unoccupied charging stations. TomTom will develop new applications so that drivers can access charging station location and reservation services directly from the dashboards in their cars. The apps will also provide navigation to a destination and will optimize the route for the nearest available charging stations.

Business intelligence and location-based analytics provider SpeedGauge partnered with truck insurance provider Brazos Specialty Risk to deliver patented analytics to the insurance industry. The partnership will provide Brazos with value-added analytics to enhance risk assessments resulting in more accurate rates. In turn, Brazos will offer SpeedGauge-equipped fleets with competitive fleet insurance premiums. “With SpeedGauge deployed across a fleet, Brazos can offer the best possible rates while providing added incentive for a fleet to educate its drivers on safe driving techniques,” says Chris Polk, CEO of Brazos.

Volvo XC60s get into fewer low-speed crashes than comparable vehicles thanks to Volvo's City Safety technology, according to newly published analysis from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Researchers examined claim frequency under property damage liability, bodily injury liability and collisions. Their data concluded that frequency rates for the XC60 were lower than all other midsize luxury SUVs. “This is our first real-world look at an advanced crash avoidance technology, and the findings are encouraging,” says Adrian Lund, president of HLDI and IIHS. The IIHS estimates that crash avoidance features have the potential to prevent or mitigate as many as 1.9 million crashes each year.


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