Highlights from the Geneva Motor Show: Saab premieres infotainment platform IQon as NAVTEQ launches new electric vehicle initiat

Highlights from the Geneva Motor Show: Saab premieres infotainment platform IQon as NAVTEQ launches new electric vehicle initiat

At the Geneva Motor Show Saab introduced IQon, a new infotainment platform that harnesses open innovation to deliver innovative apps to drivers. IQon is built on Google’s Android operating system. Saab has given third-party developers access to a vehicle application-programming interface with more than 500 signals from different sensors in the vehicle. This development strategy will provide a faster, more efficient, and more flexible alternative to in-house development of vehicle infotainment services, Saab believes. “With Saab IQon, there are no limits to the potential for innovation,” says Johan Formgren, head of Saab aftersales and commercial project leader for IQon. “We will be inviting the global Android developer community to use their imagination and ingenuity.”

Also in Geneva, NAVTEQ made a number of announcements on the electric vehicle front. The company has expanded its green portfolio to include more than 5,000 verified EV charging locations throughout Europe. The company will supply Nissan with a specialized green POI dataset for the Nissan LEAF and will supply Hyundai with advanced content for a new navigation platform that features a green routing option as well as the traditional ‘shortest’ or ‘fastest’ routes.

TomTom announced an agreement with A1 Telekom Austria to bring HD Traffic, TomTom’s real-time traffic system, to Austria. TomTom connected PNDs sold in Austria will be fitted with A1 SIM cards. TomTom will use these SIM cards like traffic probes to monitor current traffic conditions. This data will then be merged with other sources to provide traffic updates every two minutes.

Telmap ramped up its points of interest content in Germany by partnering with Das Örtliche, Germany’s leading local directory. Telmap’s Mobile Location Companion offers a variety of location-related content such as traffic, speed cameras, and points of interest information. The Das Örtliche database will be integrated into Telmap’s services so that end users in Germany will have access to a comprehensive points of interest database.

ITIS and Telefónica O2Germany announced PrecisionTraffic, a technology that makes it possible to analyze and accurately predict traffic flows on German streets. O2 provides anonymous mobile location data from its network to ITIS, which uses that data to generate high quality speed and flow information across all roads in Germany. The BMW Group will be the first carmaker to use the new PrecisionTraffic technology in its vehicles as part of their pan-European traffic service.

The Public Insurers, Germany’s second largest insurance group, announced that it will integrate telematics services into its auto insurance offerings. A new program, Mein CoPilot (My CoPilot), will offer security and safety services like automatic crash notification and stolen vehicle tracking. Italian company Octo Telematics provides the technology behind the programs.

Octo Telematics also announced the appointment of Altech Netstar as Octo’s exclusive service provider on the African continent. Octo Telematics boasts more than one million active clients in Europe and views Africa as a potential growth market for the burgeoning field of insurance telematics. South-Africa-based Altech Netstar provides GPS tracking services throughout Africa.

An online survey from State Farm Insurance found that 19 percent of drivers use the Internet while driving. The survey consisted of 912 drivers who reported driving at least one hour per week and owned a smartphone. The top Web-based activities they engaged in were searching and following driving directions, reading email, looking up points of interest, perusing social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and composing email. They generally engaged in these activities while stopped at red lights.

Layar, a start-up in the augmented reality space, announced that its augmented reality browser will now be available on the Symbian operating system. Mobilizy’s Wikitude software is also available on Symbian. Symbian is Nokia’s open source operating system and software platform designed for smartphones.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

For all the latest telematics trends, join the industry’s other key players at Telematics Detroit 2011 in Novi, MI on June 8 and 9.

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