Trimble launches monitoring system for fleet managers, as EU officials worry over Galileo satellite funding

Trimble launches monitoring system for fleet managers, as EU officials worry over Galileo satellite funding

Trimble launched Driver Safety, a monitoring system that allows fleet managers to scrutinize and improve driver behavior. In the vehicle, drivers are given pointers on their safety performance via audible beeps and red, amber, and green lights in the cab. If a driver brakes too harshly, accelerates too quickly, or corners too severely, the system will warn the person at the wheel.

Back at the office, Driver Safety relays real-time safety information to managers to see how well or poorly their vehicles and drivers are performing. The system reports specific violations and averages driving events over distance and time to create a safety score. A detailed breakdown of how vehicles are handled enables fleet managers to reward good driving skills and improve bad ones. “The platform we have developed will spark a revolution in the way fleet vehicles are driven,” says Andrew Yeoman, MD of Trimble MRM in Europe. “Driver Safety doesn't just mean the safety of a fleet driver but of all road users. If the thousands of fleet drivers on our roads are driving more carefully thanks to technology, then the benefits can be felt by more than just the driver.”

WirelessCar launches first OEM in Brazil

With the launch of Volvo OnCall, Volvo Cars became the first automotive manufacturer in Brazil to launch an embedded telematics program—and WirelessCar was the service provider. Volvo OnCall, which includes automatic crash notification, breakdown notification, and remote services such as door lock/unlock, will be available from December 1 and will be free for the first two years. Brazil is the first country outside Europe in which Volvo OnCall will be available. WirelessCar is the only certified service provider in Brazil to offer embedded end-to-end services, including a call center and GPRS telecommunication link and services.

NAVTEQ classified ads

NAVTEQ announced NN4D Classified Ads, a free listing service intended to efficiently connect developers and partners. To participate, individuals and companies create classified ads for services and solutions, developer support, or job postings. The ads are fully customizable with images, attachment uploads, and additional details fields. Members of the NAVTEQ Network for Developers (NN4D) community can then search the ads and instantly see if another member is looking for what they are offering—or is offering what they need. The community is already up and running with listings posted from around the globe, covering jobs, projects, platforms, and services.

Telmap Twitter widget

Telmap released a location-aware Twitter widget as part of its mobile search, mapping, and navigation app. Where implemented, Telmap app users will enjoy seamless access to location-based tweets in their vicinity. Users can view public tweets and tweets by people they follow that have a nearby location attached to them. Users will simply need to choose the Twitter Widget from the Widgets Carousel, and all relevant nearby tweets will be presented on the map. Users will be able to select a specific tweet, view and reply to it, as well as drive to the location attached to it, all from within the Telmap app. In addition, when searching for a specific location or point of interest, users can view tweets around that specific location.

Garmin pulls the plug on its smartphone

Garmin confirmed reports that it will no longer produce the nuviphone smartphone. The nuviphone was intended to compete with the iPhone, with Garmin’s experience in GPS and turn-by-turn navigation giving it an edge with customers. Customers didn’t see it that way, and the nuviphone netted just $27 million, while the iPhone and competing Android models netted billions. Garmin and ASUS, which had struck up a phone-making partnership, formally dissolved that relationship, though the companies will continue to collaborate on other projects. Garmin also announced that it will develop a GPS navigation app for consumer application stores, like the Apple App Store. The Garmin app will compete with current mapping apps from TomTom, Navigon, and others.

Galileo price tag wars

European parliamentary officials raised concerns over funding for the Galileo satellite navigation system. Galileo is meant to be the EU’s answer to the US’s GPS. Galileo is forecast to bring €90 billion to the European economy over 20 years once it launches in 2014. Europe’s finance ministers, however, are worried it will suck away much of that economic return before it ever reaches orbit. Claims originating in a German government report suggest that the €3.4-billion project could be €20 billion over budget. European Industry commissioner Antonio Tajani insisted that the project is on budget. Meanwhile, supportive parliamentary officials asked that provisions for 2012 and 2013 funding be written into the 2011 European Commission budget, to preempt finance ministers pleading empty pockets a few years down the road.

Sierra AirPrime

Sierra Wireless unveiled the AirPrime AR Series, a suite of embedded wireless modules designed specifically for automotive manufacturers. Automotive systems present a uniquely challenging environment for wireless technologies, requiring solutions that can withstand extreme temperatures, thermal shocks, constant vibration, and humidity over many years. As telematics, infotainment, navigation assistance, and remote vehicle diagnostics become standard features in new cars, reliable built-in connections to cellular networks are essential. The series is the first set of wireless modules designed and developed from the ground up to achieve the highest level of compliance with automotive specifications. Commercial shipments of the modules are scheduled to begin in mid-2011.

Mappy Ulti 590

Logicom launched the Mappy Ulti 590, its first connected PND under the Mappy brand. The device offers real-time traffic information from NAVTEQ, real-time speed camera information from Coyote Systems, parking availability from Oumegarer, business listings from PagesJaunes, personal listings from PageBlanches, and worldwide weather data from CustomWeather. The PND is built on the MCT2.0 Open Telematics OS from Mobile Devices, allowing more applications to be added as customers wish. Numerous retail channels are set to distribute the device in France, where it will sell for €199, €100 cheaper than direct competitors.

Andrew Tolve is regular contributor to TU.

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