Real world, meet crash avoidance Weekly Brief—8.27.2012

Real world, meet crash avoidance Weekly Brief—8.27.2012

In this week's Brief: U.S. Department of Transportation, University of Michigan, NHTSA, Ford, GM, Cohda Wireless, Telenav, Garmin, BMW, OnStar, Gartner, Clarion, and the In-Location Alliance

Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication may represent a major advancement for crash avoidance, but the business case for deploying such solutions en masse to the field remains foggy. To that end, the U.S. Department of Transportation launched a yearlong real world road test of connected vehicle crash avoidance technology this week, in conjunction with the University of Michigan.

The nearly 3,000 test cars, trucks and buses, most of which have been supplied by volunteer participants, are equipped with V2V and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication devices that will send and receive electronic data messages, and will gather extensive data about system operability and its effectiveness at reducing crashes.

The DOT has outfitted about 70 miles of Ann Arbor, Michigan, roadway with roadside-equipment installations for the V2I element of the test. The model deployment is the second phase of DOT’s connected vehicle Safety Pilot, a major research initiative managed by NHTSA and the Research and Innovative Technologies Administration Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office.

“Vehicle-to-vehicle communication has the potential to be the ultimate game-changer in roadway safety – but we need to understand how to apply the technology in an effective way in the real world,” says NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.

Contributing to the pilot are Ford and GM, each of which will supply V2V-equipped cars for the road test.

Australia-based Cohda Wireless, meanwhile, will supply a range of connected car solutions based on a WiFi-like standard, called Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC), that optimizes WiFi connections for a moving car.

Cohda has already partnered with governments, OEMs and suppliers to trial various V2V apps in the U.S., Australia, Germany, France and Korea.

Telenav launched the Scout Drive Button, a widget for anyone to add onto their website to provide visitors the ability to instantly launch voice-guided, turn-by-turn, GPS navigation to their store, restaurant, salon, dentist office, or other location.

Mobile users can click the button from their phone, and navigation will start from their mobile browser without the need for a separate GPS navigation or mapping app. The Scout Drive Button is free for website owners and mobile users and requires no coding skills.

Garmin unveiled d?zl 760, the company’s first trucking PND with a seven-inch display and an “Active Lane Guidance” feature to help truckers confidently navigate intersections and exits.

The d?zl 760 comes equipped with trucking-specific functions like route calculation based on truck attributes, trucking POIs, hours of service logging, an extra-loud speaker and backup camera support.

The d?zl 760 is expected to become available in the fourth quarter of 2012 and will have a suggested retail price of $399.99.

BMW announced the September launch of ParkNow, an online mobile parking service that enables users to pay for parking in advance, with guaranteed access and clearly defined rates.

Customers can search for parking using ParkNow's mobile app or website, reserve, pay and then be navigated directly to the parking facility, reducing time spent looking for parking, as well as emissions.

San Francisco, where BMW debuted its DriveNow car-sharing program in June, will serve as the initial U.S. market for the service. 

OnStar overhauled its dashboard look with a new suite of buttons for 2013 model year vehicles. The button previously dubbed the "Hands-Free Calling button" – a white phone with a circle around it – is now the "Voice Command button" and allows drivers to place a hands-free phone call; access a saved route; and check hands-free calling minutes or access OnStar Virtual Advisor, which includes saved MapQuest directions or traffic, weather and stock updates.

Also, among other changes, the emergency button, previously represented by a white cross, is now labeled “SOS.”

Consumer telematics showed up on Gartner’s annual Hype Cycle Special Report, which highlights the common pattern of overenthusiasm, disillusionment and eventual realism that accompanies each new technology and innovation.

Consumer telematics landed in the “Smarter Things” category, along with autonomous vehicles, mobile robots, Internet of Things, wireless power, and machine-to-machine communication services. Gartner doesn’t qualify why consumer telematics is on the list, only that it is nearing a tipping point.

Clarion released the FB4car and Tweet4car applications designed for in-vehicle use in collaboration with Next GATE, a smartphone controller for the iPhone that makes it easier to navigate popular social media channels in the vehicle.

With the two new Facebook- and Twitter-specific apps, users will be able to update their status, check-in and reply to Tweets all harnessing text-to-speech functionality.

Twenty-two companies united to launch the In-Location Alliance, which aims to drive innovation and market adoption of high accuracy indoor positioning and related services.

The Alliance will focus on creating an ecosystem that stimulates innovation, enhances service delivery, and accelerates the adoption of solutions and technologies that optimize the mobile experience. Founding members include Broadcom, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung and Sony.

"The indoor location market sits on the cusp of a wave, with the market set to reach a significant number of installations in 2015 to 2017,” says Patrick Connolly from ABI Research.With a huge number of proprietary technologies vying for position, the establishment of the In-Location Alliance can encourage innovation, lower costs and, ultimately, widespread adoption of standard based technologies and solutions.”

For more on V2V, see Special Report: Telematics and V2V/V2X technologies.

For all the latest trends in insurance telematics, check out Insurance Telematics USA 2012 on September 5-6 in Chicago and Telematics Munich 2012 on October 29-30.

For exclusive insurance telematics business analysis and insight, read TU’s Smart Vehicle Technology: The Future of Insurance Telematics report.

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