Pads for cars Weekly Brief—4.9.12

Pads for cars Weekly Brief—4.9.12

In this week's Brief: TRW Automotive Holdings, TomTom, Numerex Corp, Facebook, the New York Auto Show, Garmin, Suzuki, Honda, West Virginia, and the U.S. Department of Transportation

TRW Automotive Holdings unveiled a capacitive touchpad sensor that harnesses advanced handwriting recognition software. The user 'writes' individual characters with a single finger on the touch sensor area and this input is interpreted by software and acknowledged by an audible feedback.

The goal is to create a single point of contact between the driver and applications used in the vehicle to improve user-friendliness, comfort and safety. TRW research has shown that the use of in-vehicle handwriting recognition operation reduces driving deviations by 78 percent compared with the alphanumeric keyboard method.

“One of the key features is the system's ability to recognize written inputs and allow an intuitive and fast handling of applications,” says Frank Koch, advanced engineering manager for TRW's Body Control Systems. “The touchpad technology has huge potential for global vehicle markets."

TomTom made its fleet management app, WEBFLEET Mobile, compatible with the latest tablet technology. New functionality allows users to view details for all current orders on tablet devices, plus manage workflow and meet service agreements.

New jobs can be sent straight from tablets to a field workers' TomTom PRO device, providing them with all the information they need about the job. WEBFLEET Mobile is available across 21 countries in Europe, North America, Australia and South Africa.

Numerex Corp launched an M2M interactive platform that allows customers to incorporate web- and smartphone-based remote management into their M2M solutions.

Smartphones leveraging the platform can receive notifications when drivers reach job sites, plus activate security alarms, track tank levels, or get any other alert based on selected threshold parameters related to the monitored asset.

The goal is to link disparate connectivity technologies together and deliver smart data communications to track assets.

Facebook announced that 200 million Facebook users geo-tag content through Facebook each month. That amounts to two billion pieces of content getting geotagged monthly via Facebook, from posts to videos to check-ins to photos.

As telematics wrestles with how to incorporate a location-aware internet into the vehicle—geo-tagged traffic incidents, navigation that caters to precise location, etc.—Facebook is bound to factor into the equation.

The New York Auto Show got underway at the Javitz Convention Center in New York City. The show runs from April 6 to April 15 and features the latest releases and concept cars from the industry’s biggest players.

At the show, Garmin displayed a fully integrated infotainment system that will come factory-installed in most American 2013 model year Suzuki vehicles, Garmin announced.

The infotainment system combines a high-res touchscreen display with a full-featured infotainment platform, including AM/FM/CD radio, multi-media playback, backup camera support, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, Pandora internet radio, Garmin navigation, and an intuitive user interface with advanced voice control.

At the show, Honda announced plans to install backup cameras in all cars that trundle off Honda factory lines from 2013 onward.

The backup cameras have already been integrated into Honda’s fleet of truck models, like the Ridgeline, CR-V, and Odyssey, but the company says the safety feature can provide value across its portfolio of vehicles.

West Virginia became the 36th U.S. state to prohibit texting behind the wheel and the 10th state to outlaw hand-held cell phone use by all drivers. The state's new law takes effect on July 1, and violators will be fined $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense and $300 for the third offense.

Three points will also be assessed against driver’s licenses on third and subsequent violations. The announcement overlaps with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in the U.S.

"One text or call could wreck it all,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in applauding the measure. “Too many lives have been senselessly lost on our nation’s roads due to the epidemic of distracted driving."




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