Nevada welcomes driverless cars to its roads, as the European Commission and the Japanese government work on intelligent transport

Nevada welcomes driverless cars to its roads, as the European Commission and the Japanese government work on intelligent transport

Ford expanded the availability of its factory-installed SYNC AppLink to 10 vehicles for 2012. AppLink is a software application that gives SYNC users hands-free voice control capability of smartphone apps. The Ford Fusion, Fiesta, Expedition, E-Series, and F-150SVT Raptor will be added as AppLink-equipped vehicles in 2012, among others. The company also plans to expand its Connected Services Solutions Organization and foster a larger group of independent developers for SYNC, which is already 2,500 developers strong. “We understand more and more drivers are using their devices and their apps while in the car,” said Doug VanDagens, director of Ford Connected Services Solutions. “Ford is a part of the solution, offering voice-activated options such as Ford SYNC with AppLink on a broader range of our products, which gives more customers a smarter way to access their apps while driving that keeps their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”

Nokia announced plans to incorporate NAVTEQ into its social location services department, thereby creating a new Location & Commerce division within the company. Nokia purchased NAVTEQ in 2007. NAVTEQ currently operates as an independent unit of the company focusing on digital mapping and navigation services. The new Location & Commerce division, while continuing to serve NAVTEQ’s current customers, will provide next generation social-location applications and will aim to extend Nokia content and services offerings to a broader range of consumers by making them available on a wide variety of devices and operating systems.

The state of Nevada passed Assembly Bill 511, which authorizes driverless cars on Nevada roads. The bill defines driverless cars as those vehicles that use “artificial intelligence, sensors and global positioning system coordinates to drive itself without the active intervention of a human operator.” Bill 511 is the first of its kind in the US. Google has been one of the main supporters of the vision for autonomous vehicles; driverless cars have logged more than 140,000 test miles in California.

Volkswagen debuted the Temporary Autopilot (TAP) program, a driver assistance system that combines functions like adaptive cruise control and side monitoring with a radar system, laser scanners, and ultrasonic sensors. If drivers select TAP mode, the car automatically checks its position in the road, ensures it is a safe distance from the vehicle in front of it, and slows down when cornering. The system works up to speeds of 80 miles per hour. Volkswagen has not announced when the system will be integrated into consumer cars.

Renault hit the one million mark for Renault vehicles outfitted with in-car Carminat TomTom navigation systems. More than half of Renault vehicles sold today are equipped with embedded navigation solutions. The Carminat system also offers LIVE services that couple connected navigation with real-time information and support, like HD Traffic, road safety alerts, and POIs from the Google database. Launched in spring 2009, Carminat TomTom costs €490 and is upgraded continuously for more efficiency.

TomTom expanded its footprint in Latin America to cover Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, French Guiana, the French Overseas Territories, and Venezuela. The company aims to equip industry partners with high-quality content to enable location-based services. The features that TomTom introduced vary country by country. In Venezuela, for instance, the company unveiled ConnectPlus map, which provides navigable street network coverage for Caracas, the capital. In Brazil, TomTom launched Speed Profiles, which provides precise historical traffic information.

Garmin acquired Tri-Tronics, the leading designer and manufacturer of electronic dog training equipment. The acquisition, Garmin hopes, will allow the combined company to expand its leadership position in both the tracking and training of sporting dogs and household pets alike. Expanding tracking services beyond vehicles—to the elderly, to pets—could represent an area of strong growth for the industry. Garmin first entered the market for tracking dogs in 2007 with a GPS dog tracking system called Astro.

The European Commission and the Japanese government signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in the field of Intelligent Transport Systems. The Memorandum plans to identify the research and development areas that would benefit from a harmonized approach toward ITS in the future and that should be addressed by coordinated research activities. The European Commission’s Information Society and Media Directorate-General and Japan’s Road Bureau intend to share information on ongoing research and development projects, estimated benefits, research outcomes, and results of field demonstrations by means of periodical dialogues and information exchange. They also plan to bring the automotive industry into the fold and to jointly organize symposiums and meetings to push ITS forward.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

For all the latest telematics trends, join the sector’s other key players at Telematics Munich 2011 on November 9-10 in Munich.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *