Shell launches FuelSave Partner with Airbiquity as Apple announces iPad distribution outside the US

Shell launches FuelSave Partner with Airbiquity as Apple announces iPad distribution outside the US

Shell announced that Airbiquity will spearhead the telematics element of its new fuel management solution in Europe: Shell FuelSave Partner. The program analyzes fuel, vehicle, and driver data and provides fleet managers and drivers with easy-to-understand reports that can reduce fuel costs and CO2 emissions.

“We know how tight the margins can be for our transport customers, so we’re always looking at ways to help them manage fuel costs,” says Ruth Cairnie, vice president for Commercial Fuels, Shell.

Fuel savings and CO2 monitoring “can be an important benefit for fleet managers who are under pressure to reduce their fleets’ environmental impact,” she says.

Airbiquity helped develop and test Shell FuelSave Partner. Moving forward, the Seattle-based telematics company will manage key components of the FuelSave service, including installation and wireless provisioning. Airbiquity’s pan-European infrastructure will support Shell FuelSave Partner as the company deploys in multiple European markets throughout 2010.

Commercial navigation solutions double

Global shipments of commercial navigation solutions will more than double between now and 2015, a new report from ABI Research suggests. Shipments of embedded solutions and commercial-grade personal navigation devices (PNDs) are expected to reach 3 million this year and 7.5 million by 2015. Fleets in North America and Europe will continue to adopt the navigation solutions, the report forecasts, while the Asia-Pacific market experiences rapid growth.

Fueling the broader growth are new low-cost solutions, like PNDs from Garmin, Cobra, and Rand McNally, as well as smartphone apps like those from Telenav and ALK Technologies.

Telematics gets a bright forecast

An ABI Research report forecasts that market penetration of consumer and commercial telematics systems in passenger and commercial vehicles will more than double in the next five years. That means growth from less than 10 percent penetration today to 23 percent penetration by 2015. ABI says growth will be spurred by OEMs looking to spring out of the recession with more connected vehicles and by the explosion of the smartphone industry, which opens up the obvious need for seamless integration of these devices into vehicles.

Asset tracking comes to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia unveiled plans to launch a GPS tracking service for commercial fleets and assets. The Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Public Transport Committee conceived the system as a way to deter theft, increase efficiency, and add an additional safety measure beyond insurance. The service will cost an initial fee of 800 riyals followed by a small monthly fee and will be available for some non-commercial vehicles.

Q1 goes to TomTom

Garmin announced first quarter revenue of $431 million, down one percent from its performance in the first quarter of 2009. Last week Garmin rival TomTom reported a revenue increase of 26 percent. Garmin attributed the rough Q1 to lower than expected sell-in of its PNDs at key US retailers. The company said its PNDs in the Asian market experienced 51 percent growth and its overall share of the PND market grew 5 percent to 58 percent total. Still, after a difficult 2009 and growing threats from free navigation solutions, the company had hoped for stronger results.

Beta testing user-generated maps

Israeli navigation start-up Waze released a beta version of its software for Blackberry devices. Wave is a so-called “social mobile” application that provides free turn-by-turn navigation and traffic updates based entirely on user input. The app is already available for iPhone and Android operating systems and has 750,000 users worldwide, 300,000 of whom are located in Israel.

OnStar overhaul

General Motors plans to spruce up OnStar with a new suite of features to better compete with Ford SYNC, revealed Chris Preuss, head of GM telematics service, during an interview with CNN Money. The overhaul will include better smartphone integration so drivers can harness the power of their apps from the seats of their cars. The new OnStar will also include nifty tricks like allowing drivers to lock, unlock, and start their cars at a distance with their smartphones. And don’t be surprised if OnStar as a service moves beyond its parent company’s cars, Preuss hinted.

iPad = ?????

Apple announced that its iPad will hit the Japanese market on May 28th. Japanese mobile phone operator Softbank Mobile Corp. scored the lucrative deal. The iPad will also be released in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, and Canada at the end of May. The release of the iPad in the US several months ago encouraged navigation companies to create new apps and some car companies—like Hyundai—to pen user manuals for the new device.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

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