Iteris releases the next generation of its fleet performance system, as Google launches nav apps for the blind

Iteris releases the next generation of its fleet performance system, as Google launches nav apps for the blind

Iteris released the second generation of its SafetyDirect Fleet Performance System, which allows customers a single point of access to monitor and synchronize the complexities of their fleets. Driver performance data on braking, stability control, collision safety system braking, and lane-departure warnings for individual drivers and entire fleets are standard in the new SafetyDirect system. In addition, active safety system characteristics like diagnostics information can be automatically reported to fleet operations.

Earlier this year, Iteris partnered with Meritor WABCO (MW) to allow information captured by MW’s SmartTrac and OnGuard active safety systems to be available through Iteris’ SafetyDirect. The companies have successfully completed a number of fleet evaluation installations and are now releasing the solution to customers. “With increased political and industry focus on improving driver safety, I believe this partnership [with Meritor WABCO] will greatly expand our safety offering to a broader segment of the commercial truck market,” says Abbas Mohaddes, president and chief executive officer of Iteris.

OnStar courts insurance discounts

OnStar has entered discussions with insurance companies in hopes of securing insurance discounts for OnStar customers. OnStar comes free with the purchase of most GM vehicles for a certain promotional period. Once that period expires, drivers must pay an annual fee of $199 or $299, depending on extra services. About 50 percent of OnStar drivers subscribe to the service once the promotional period runs out. OnStar believes insurance discounts will incentivize more drivers to stick with the service. OnStar president Chris Preuss said that Century 21 and Liberty Mutual have entered talks about discounts. State Farm insurance, meanwhile, has launched an OnStar discount pilot in Ohio, with a second pilot to start up in California later this year.

MyFord Touch heads east

Ford released the MyFord Touch interface system to the Middle East region. MyFord Touch re-envisions the in-car experience, mirroring how consumers interact with most devices in their lives via touch-sensitive buttons, touch screens, thumb-wheel controls, and voice recognition. The LCD screens can be personalized to individual drivers, and the system recognizes a wide range of voice commands. The system will be available in the Middle East on the 2011 Ford Edge Crossover.

NDrive’s new weather features

NDrive Navigation Systems selected Weather Central as its worldwide provider of weather forecasts and alerts. Weather Central’s real-time weather updates and location-based weather services will be integrated into NDrive’s navigation software, which currently is active in more than 40 countries on a range of mobile devices. In addition to location-based forecasts, Weather Central will provide NDrive with a suite of enhanced weather services that present NDrive users with important information related to travel, like accumulated ice, rain and snow, cloud cover, dew point, the threat of severe thunderstorms and tornados, and surface wind speed and direction.

Google navigation apps for the blind

Google released two apps designed to help the blind navigate on foot. The Walky Talky app asks a user to enter an address or a favorite location, and then navigates to that location calling out walking directions en route. It also mentions street names to help orient a walker to unfamiliar surroundings. The second app, The Intersection Explorer, presents an interactive map with the user’s current location at its center. As users trace across the map, the app offers voice cues as to which direction their fingers are headed, like “North along Broadway” or “West to the Lincoln Tunnel.” The app also mentions points of interest, obstructions, or road crossings users will encounter if they head in that direction. This allows the blind to glean important information about a setting before entering.

Garmin announces chirp

Garmin announced chirp, a unique wireless beacon designed for geocaching, a high-tech version of hide-and-seek in which participants explore the outdoors in search of hidden treasure. The treasure is hidden in various “multicaches” that are set up and maintained by different participants. chirp is an affordable, durable, and waterproof solution that allows players to easily set up and maintain their multicaches. Using a compatible Garmin handheld device, chirp automatically transmits program coordinates so other cachers can find each stage of the multicache. Or if the user is on a multicache adventure himself, chirp lets him download coordinates so there's no need to manually enter numerous sets of complex coordinates. chirp also stores hints, counts visitors, and confirms when a cache is nearby. The solution is available to gamers for $22.99.

Digi m130

Digi International introduced the Digi m130, an embedded module that allows OEMs to easily add cellular, GPS, and satellite in a single solution. Digi m130’s cellular and satellite connectivity provides instant, always-on communications that enable companies to switch networks easily. On-board GPS allows location tracking and geo-fencing. “Featuring both cellular and satellite connectivity allows customers to develop fleet management solutions that can easily switch from one network to another,” says Larry Kraft, senior vice president of global sales and marketing, Digi International. “As a vehicle moves out of cell range, it can then use satellite to maintain connectivity. This combined with GPS functionality allows organizations to track their products to within five meters of accuracy virtually anywhere on the planet.”

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

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