The EU launches its HeERO eCall pilot, as new survey shows there’s still life in the PND market

The EU launches its HeERO eCall pilot, as new survey shows there’s still life in the PND market

The EU Commission launched HeERO, a pan-European eCall pilot, at the ERTICO-ITS Europe assembly in Brussels. Nine countries—Italy, Germany, Romania, Czech Republic, Greece, the Netherlands, Croatia, Finland, and Sweden—have agreed to run eCall pre-deployment pilots during the next three years through the HeERO project. In order to prepare for the infrastructure needed to support a Continent-wide service like eCall, the countries will together implement, operate, and validate the European eCall agreed standards, the needed technical and operational infrastructure upgrades, and the value-added services that can be linked to the eCall open platform.

Cinterion and DENSO also demonstrated a successful “112” pan-European in-vehicle emergency call. For eCall to work, a Minimum Set of Data (MSD), including key information about the accident like time, location, and vehicle description, must be sent over a voice channel to the emergency staff at the relevant Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP). In the demonstration, multiple MSDs were quickly transmitted from the in-vehicle Cinterion module to an eCall PSAP, proving the ability to integrate the latest eCall in-band specifications into a field solution. “We are looking forward to continuing interoperability testing in the field during the HeERO pilot phase, as well as providing our knowledge and best-in-class M2M modules,” said Marcel Visser, Cinterion vice president for Automotive. “We are committed to providing active support towards the successful deployment of a pan-European eCall solution for better road safety.”

A new EOBR mandate

A new regulatory proposal from the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would require nearly all interstate commercial truck companies—US or Canadian—to employ electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) to monitor driver hours-of-service. Carriers currently retain delivery and toll receipts to verify the number of hours drivers have logged behind the wheel. If passed, the proposal would replace this method with a 21st-century solution. Those carriers that don’t install EOBRs would face penalties upwards of $11,000 per offense. The proposed law would affect all interstate carriers that currently use records of duty logbooks to document hours-of-service compliance. Short-haul carriers that use timecards would not be required to install EOBRs. “We cannot protect our roadways when commercial truck and bus companies exceed hours-of-service rules,” said US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This proposal would make our roads safer by ensuring that carriers travelling across state lines are using EOBRs to track the hours their drivers spend behind the wheel.”

Trimble and Zurich

Trimble announced a collaboration with Zurich, one of the world’s largest fleet insurers, on the insurer’s new fleet risk management program, Zurich Fleet Intelligence (ZFI). The ZFI program will combine data from Trimble’s telematics devices with Zurich’s analytical tools to help fleet managers reduce fleet operating costs. Fleet managers will also be able to optimize vehicle journey planning and deployment, reduce vehicle running costs, increase fuel economy, influence future insurance premiums, and improve a fleet’s impact on the environment. As part of the program, Trimble will offer Zurich’s risk management and driver training services to complement its telematics solutions and help organizations manage risks, increase safety, and improve productivity. For more on fleet management, join the industry’s key players at Fleet and Asset Management Europe 2011 on April 4 and 5 in Amsterdam.

Cinemo and XSe

Cinemo and XSe announced a strategic partnership to offer automotive customers the best in-vehicle infotainment experience. The companies will integrate Cinemo’s multimedia playback and streaming solutions into XSe’s optimized automotive software stack. This will make it possible to handle complex multi-display and multi-camera systems by leveraging the acceleration features of the underlying hardware. The result will enable users to play back high-definition content even on low-power devices and boot a reliable system in just a few seconds.

SmartDrive in-cab safety

SmartDrive announced plans to launch a new in-cab video safety system at the annual Fleet Safety Forum conference, to be held March 3rd in Birmingham, UK. The conference gives fleet managers the opportunity to hear detailed case studies from fleet safety managers and suppliers who have won Fleet Safety Forum Awards for best practice. SmartDrive’s new Safety System makes it easy for companies to improve driving behavior and eliminate noncompliance and risks like smoking, eating, using handheld mobile phones, and non-use of seatbelts. Research has shown that companies that embrace SmartDrive in-cab video systems decrease collisions by 61 percent and weekly minor damage costs by 50 percent, leading to a reduction in annual insurance costs by £250,000.

Telmap Metric Reports

Telmap unveiled the inaugural edition of Telmap Metrics Report, a quarterly report looking at local search, mapping, and navigation usage and activity conducted through Telmap-based solutions. Since Telmap provides LBS services to so many global mobile operators, the company has a broad perspective and knowledge pool that can be beneficial to the LBS industry in general and location-based advertising specifically. The first report summarizes the fourth quarter of 2010, in which Telmap LBS customers navigated in more than 100 countries through more than 400 million kilometers. Some of the most popular search terms included IKEA, gas, cinema, and hospitals, while the popular POI categories included restaurants, shopping, gas stations, and hospitals, indicating that people use Telmap-based solutions to search, map, and navigate to many of their daily destinations and activities. “Telmap sees openness as an important pillar of its market leadership strategy,” said Motti Kushnir, Telmap CMO. “We have decided to introduce the report in order to provide and share some insights with the industry’s movers, shakers and influencers, so we can all work together on making location-based services a growing and prosperous industry.”

PNDs not done yet

Eighty-nine percent of people prefer portable navigation devices and embedded navigation solutions over mobile phones for car journeys, according to a new survey conducted in Germany, France, and the UK by GfK Retail and Technology. The study found that almost 70 percent of those who currently use a mobile phone navigation system would prefer to use a portable or permanently integrated navigation system in the car. Respondents took the view that pure navigation devices met their requirements significantly better than mobile phones, particularly for longer journeys at the weekend or on vacation. Just under 80 percent declared themselves satisfied with portable or in-built devices for vacation trips, whereas only 66 percent say the same for mobile phones. However, respondents clearly showed a preference for mobile when it came to navigating on foot and indicated that in the future, with improved navigation features, mobile phones would be preferable. Therefore, GfK Retail and Technology is forecasting that neither pure navigation devices nor mobile phone solutions will occupy a dominant position in the market, but that all three types of device will hold their own in their particular niches.

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

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