Weekly Brief: Car-to-X era starts now

Weekly Brief: Car-to-X era starts now

In this week’s Brief: Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Garmin, the Consumer Electronics Association, NHTSA, General Motors, Ford, Honda, the European Commission and the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

For all the latest telematics trends, check out Content & Apps for Automotive Europe 2013 on June 18-19 in Munich, V2V & V2I for Auto Safety USA 2013 on July 9-10 in Novi, MI, Insurance Telematics USA 2013 on September 4-5 in Chicago, Telematics Russia 2013 in September in Moscow, Telematics LATAM 2013 in September in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Telematics Japan 2013 on October 8-10 in Tokyo and Telematics Munich 2013 on November 11-12.

For exclusive telematics business analysis and insight, check out TU’s reports: Telematics Connectivity Strategies Report 2013The Automotive HMI Report 2013Insurance Telematics Report 2013 and Fleet & Asset Management Report 2012.

– See more at: http://analysis.telematicsupdate.com/other/weekly-brief-big-brand-party#sthash.f4TWDoxb.dpuf

The notion of today's cars communicating with each other calls to mind the image of drivers honking, swerving and cursing while wildly waving their hands. The future of communication between cars (V2V), and between cars and traffic infrastructure (V2I), promises to be far more constructive.

Last week, Mercedes-Benz announced that by the end of 2013 its newest vehicles will come equipped with technology that enables the exchange of information between individual vehicles, as well as between vehicles and infrastructure. Dubbed “Car-to-X," this sensor-based technology will allow information about road conditions, accidents and other potential dangers to be quickly fed to vehicles so that they can react with more warning. It also leads the way toward more robust advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that allow cars to respond on their own to dangerous situations.

The Car-to-X technology will be bundled with the Drive Kit Plus and the Digital DriveStyle app, which can be ordered for new vehicles and installed in stock vehicles as a retrofit option.

"With Car-to-X communication, we have made a base technology ready for the market, which in the future will enable a new generation of driver assistance systems to be developed,” says Thomas Weber, a Daimler board member responsible for group research and cars development. "Through the intelligent fusion of sensor data, we are able to obtain an extremely precise picture of the vehicle's surrounding, including areas further away from the vehicle, which also helps us with the further development of our autonomous driving functions."

(For more on ADAS and V2V/V2I, read The autonomous car: The road to driverless drivingAnn Arbor and the future of V2V/V2I, part I and Ann Arbor and the future of V2V/V2I, part II.)

In other news, Volkswagen introduced a portable infotainment device for Volkswagen up!, its city car. Made by Garmin, the solution harnesses a driver’s smartphone connection (and existing data plan) to offer a host of features, including navigation, media player, Bluetooth hands-free capabilities, real-time traffic and weather information, local search and safety camera warnings. A portable component allows the device to be removed and updated with the latest maps and information. The unit is available as a factory-installed option in Australia and Europe.

The Consumer Electronics Association formed a new team, the Driver Device Interface Working Group, to develop industry standards and best practices for designing consumer electronics products that make driver safety a priority. The group will develop personal electronic device recommendations and standards for safe user experiences based on general principles similar to those upon which the NHTSA Phase I Guidelines are based. The group will consider both testability as well as design issues.

General Motors CEO, Dan Akerson, gave a ringing endorsement to the connected car during a speech before the Chief Executives’ Club of Boston. Calling the convergence of time spent in cars and time spent with smartphones and tablets “a megatrend that we intend to harness for competitive advantage,” Akerson suggested that making in-vehicle connectivity intuitive and seamless will be a major selling point with younger generations moving forward.

In-vehicle connectivity, he added, is pretty basic in today’s market: hands-free calling, navigation and automatic crash warning are all you need to start.

In keeping with that message, Ford released data suggesting that SYNC and MyFord Touch have turned into major selling points for Ford vehicles. The two are now sold on 79% of new 2013 Ford vehicles, and Ford reveals that buyers identify voice control and touch screens as top purchase drivers over competitors. Fifty-three percent of 2013 Ford Escape owners, for instance, point to the touch screen as a top purchase reason compared to a 22% segment average.

In Thailand, Honda rolled out HondaLink, which, like Ford SYNC, creates a connection between head units and smartphones. The OEM is linking HondaLink as an app alongside Honda Roadside Assistance and HondaLink Navigation. All three can be downloaded for free from Google Play or Apple's App Store. 

Finally, we noted several weeks ago that the European Commission set an October 2015 launch date for eCall, marking the end to a tumultuous legislative process in which the finish line approached and receded dozens of times over a decade-long haul.

The October 2015 endpoint may have been premature, however, says the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), which welcomes the legislation but fears there is too much to be done in too little time for this to be safe or feasible. The ACEA was one of the first signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding way back in 2004.

“The automobile industry is very concerned that the proposed October 2015 entry into force does not respect the 36-month lead time that the industry will need to implement the technical adaptations, as recommended in CARS 2020,” says ACEA secretary general, Ivan Hodac. “Also, considering the member states’ requirement for working infrastructure to be in place, the time needed for legislative procedure and the need to assess the technical and legal challenges, this target date is highly ambitious.”

The Weekly Brief is a round-up of the week’s top telematics news, combining TU analysis with information from industry press releases.

For all the latest telematics trends, check out Content & Apps for Automotive Europe 2013 on June 18-19 in Munich, V2V & V2I for Auto Safety USA 2013 on July 9-10 in Novi, MI, Insurance Telematics USA 2013 on September 4-5 in Chicago, Telematics Russia 2013 in September in Moscow, Telematics LATAM 2013 in September in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Telematics Japan 2013 on October 8-10 in Tokyo and Telematics Munich 2013 on November 11-12.

For exclusive telematics business analysis and insight, check out TU’s reports: Telematics Connectivity Strategies Report 2013The Automotive HMI Report 2013Insurance Telematics Report 2013 and Fleet & Asset Management Report 2012.

– See more at: http://analysis.telematicsupdate.com/other/weekly-brief-big-brand-party#sthash.f4TWDoxb.dpuf

 

Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.

For all the latest telematics trends, check out V2V & V2I for Auto Safety USA 2013 on July 9-10 in Novi, MI, Insurance Telematics USA 2013 on September 4-5 in Chicago, Telematics Russia 2013 in September in Moscow, Telematics LATAM 2013 in September in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Telematics Japan 2013 on October 8-10 in Tokyo and Telematics Munich 2013 on November 11-12.

For exclusive telematics business analysis and insight, check out TU’s reports: Telematics Connectivity Strategies Report 2013The Automotive HMI Report 2013Insurance Telematics Report 2013 and Fleet & Asset Management Report 2012.  

 


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