Vehicle Telematics – Making the Car an iPhone on Wheels

Vehicle telematics is the combination of electronic technology and cars and trucks. Thanks to recent advancements int telematics technology, drivers will soon be able to order movie tickets and make dinner reservations from their in-car navigation system. The ultimate fantasy car in vehicle telematics would be similar to the Batmobile or Kitt from Night Rider. You can speak to these cars and they make driving easier, safer, and way more cool.

Vehicle telematics today includes auto manufacturers with abundant service offerings and smartphones applications becoming a part of the vehicle’s interior — providing entertainment, navigation, traffic data and even social networking inside the vehicle.

Now hands-free, wireless technology and your cel phone can be integrated into your car. With vehicle telematics, drivers will be able to seamlessly receive information and respond without taking their eyes off the road.

Vehicle telematics and other in-car electronic systems are about getting the best of both worlds — consumers are looking an easy way to integrate all their gadgets and businesses are willing to spend on advanced products for better efficiency, such as vehicle fleet tracking systems There is stiff competition between auto manufacturers, all trying to do outdo each other by designing the best in-vehicle telematics features.

In terms of connected cars, we see the growth to be significant,” says Mark C. Boyadjis, a senior automotive analyst for IHS iSuppli. “Our forecasts for OEM Monitored, Telematics-enabled vehicles in 2010 sit at 4.5 million sales, with a heavy part of that coming from the U.S. and Western Europe, whereas this industry grows to 22.7 million by 2015.”

Land Rover LRX has an iPhone dock that lets you control many of the vehicle’s functions from the phone itself — and some companies are producing crosses between a laptop and a GPS for more wireless connectivity. Many of these systems plan to use WiMax, the new cellular Internet based in large cities, so people can check e-mail and get directions while they sit in traffic on their way to work.

Mercedes has just announced the launch of a telematics platform with internet access. The new telematics platform is named ‘Comand Online’ for the Mercedes C-Class. This system will also be integrated with other models in the future. When the car is stationary, customers are able to browse freely or surf to a Mercedes-Benz Online service whose pages load particularly rapidly and are also easy to use while on the move. The integrated services include weather information and a special destination search via Google, as well as the option of downloading a route that has been previously configured on a PC using Google Maps and sent to the car.

Toyota drivers could soon buy movie tickets and make restaurant reservations from their in-car navigation system. Drivers will be able to access music through Pandora and Clear Channel’s iheartradio app. They’ll also be able to check out, Microsoft’s Bing search engine and OpenTable’s reservation service. Drivers also can receive real-time and crowd-sourced traffic updates from INRIX as well as fuel prices, weather, stocks and sports.

The Entune multimedia telematics system will show up this year in several Toyota models and will also feature sophisticated software that can recognize voices speaking naturally instead of just simple commands.

Ford offers the Sync – designed to streamline the integration of cell phones and media players into the vehicle.  Sync has  good hands-free features, allowing voice controls of all attached devices.

According to Ford’s website, the Sync has:

  • Voice activated Hands-free calling – Push a button and speak a name to dial a call.  Using voice recognition software the Sync system will try to identify the requested person without any training.
  • Audible text messages – The Sync system will use text-to-speech to read text messages over the vehicle’s audio system.
  • WiFi Connectivity – The Sync system will support the connection of the customers USB mobile broadband modem to create a local WiFi hotspot for in vehicle internet connectivity.  This will allow passengers in the vehicle with WiFi capable devices (cell phones, laptops, netbooks, etc) to connect to the internet.

BMW telematics services – BMW Assist, BMW Online and BMW TeleServices – intelligently combine the BMW navigation system with the in-car telephone and are designed primarily to improve your safety and mobility. BMW is partnering with Nvidia to power its next-generation infotainment systems. BMW also had a prototype of its 3D navigation system in a BMW 550i. BMW Assist for instance not only delivers a wide range of tailored information straight to your vehicle, but also provides up-to-date, location-based traffic news. It sends data gathered by roadside sensors to your BMW using GPS technology, enabling your navigation system to calculate a route that avoids traffic jams. BMW TeleServices meanwhile monitors the condition of key wearing parts and, if required, even contacts your BMW Service Centre automatically to arrange a service.