Weekly Brief: TomTom first to market with real-time weather routing

Weekly Brief: TomTom first to market with real-time weather routing

In this week’s Brief: TomTom, Sygic, ORTEC Cloud Services, moovel, car2go, IBM, SoftLayer, AAA, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center and Signal Iduna.

Detour here, there’s a thunderstorm up ahead.

If you use TomTom Traffic, you could be hearing that directive soon, as the Dutch navigation co became the first to use real-time weather information to calculate routes and arrival times. TomTom Traffic now warns drivers about upcoming slow moving traffic due to heavy rain or snow and recommends alternate routes to get to drivers’ destinations faster.

“We know that bad weather is often unpredictable and can cause significant travel delays,” says Ralf-Peter Schäfer, head of TomTom Traffic. “Now, by factoring in the weather, we give drivers more advanced knowledge about the road ahead to make journeys faster and more predictable.”

Sticking with navigation, Sygic introduced cloud-based route optimization for fleets, a service that it claims can deliver up to a 10% reduction in distances driven. The service is powered by ORTEC Cloud Services and harnesses what Sygic is calling “optimization algorithms” to deliver its route recommendations based on lowest possible fuel consumption and fastest delivery times. Sygic users can now access the ORTEC algorithms directly from the Sygic Navigation for Fleets app.

Meanwhile moovel, the company behind car-sharing app car2go, enlisted the help of IBM company SoftLayer to offer users different suggested routes depending on their preference of speed, cost or comfort. SoftLayer’s cloud infrastructure sorts, analyzes and makes sense of large amounts of data to deliver insights to car2go users on the best suggested routes in seconds — be they railroad, bike rental, taxis or car sharing.

In other news, GM revealed that it’s nearing completion of an automotive safety testing area at its Milford Proving Ground campus in Michigan. At 52 acres, the testing area will be one of the largest in North America and was specifically designed for developing, testing and validating Active Safety, or crash avoidance, technologies. The $12-million project broke ground in June 2013 and is scheduled to be fully functional by December of this year.

AAA came out with a report supporting factory-installed and aftermarket rear-view camera systems, noting that a rear-view camera system increased visibility of the rear blind-zone area by an average of 46 percent for the vehicles tested. AAA evaluated 17 vehicles across 11 manufacturers with factory-installed and aftermarket rear-view camera systems. None of the systems tested offered 100 percent coverage behind the car, so AAA still recommends taking a stroll around the trunk or craning your neck all the way around when throwing it in reverse. AAA conducted the study in conjunction with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center.

Finally, returning to the company with which we began, TomTom announced a new UBI program for young drivers in Germany in partnership with German insurance provider Signal Iduna. “AppDrive powered by TomTom” uses a smartphone app to provide feedback on driving performance to help increase road safety awareness for young drivers. The device plugs into the on-board diagnostic port and delivers data insights like harsh braking, steering and acceleration to the insurer as well as the insured. The goal is to give young drivers transparency into their driving performance and financial motivation in the form of insurance discounts to improve.

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

Andrew Tolve is a regular TU contributor.

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