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"Telematics and Motor Trade; Clever Cars and Business" written over the top of a photograph of the steering wheel of a Bentley.

Telematics and Motor Trade: Clever Cars and Business

Let’s remove any misconception, doubt and stigma surrounding what GPS and wireless vehicle communication can do for you.
Technology is rapidly changing how we drive, and so far, small to medium businesses are appearing slow on the uptake.

What telematics really is.

Techradar defines telematics as: “Telematics is a method of monitoring a vehicle. By combining a GPS system with on-board diagnostics it’s possible to record – and map – exactly where a car is and how fast it’s traveling, and cross reference that with how a car is behaving internally.”

While this is a valid and important utility of technology in vehicles, it is also extremely narrow and slices away the much more inventive application that is only just coming in to play. There is a common associated thought, where telematics is singularly a “Big-Brother” technology where your movements are consistently monitored. However, this is a misconception and an increasing number of people are accepting telematics for the incredible opportunities that it is creating.

Typically, vehicle, trailer and container tracking is what telematics has been in the past. Closely identified with this is an employer’s ability to determine the fastest, most economic or least complex route. This can help you plan with sufficient funds, man power and resources with simple analysis, while developing contingency plans.

Another common type of telematics use is in black boxes, which are issued by personal lines insurers. Registering speed, routes, and driving style to define a personalised premium is especially popular with young drivers. If you would like to know more about these type of personal lines policies, websites like https://www.confused.com/car-insurance/black-box/telematics-explained and others are easily accessible through a simple Google search.

Wikipedia defines telematics as such:

“Telematics is an interdisciplinary field that encompasses telecommunications, vehicular technologies, road transportation, road safety, electrical engineering (sensors, instrumentation, wireless communications, etc.), and computer science (multimedia, Internet, etc.).”

Telematics is becoming more complicated. With the technological advancements in this field, we are starting to see the beginnings of a very exciting future.

Wifi hotspot in your car? Telematics.

Touch screen control panel on your dashboard? Telematics.

Traffic updates on aforementioned touch screen? Telematics.

In fact, Wireless Vehicle Safety Communication is fast becoming a controversial topic. Radio signals are often sent out from cars to communicate with sensors outside the vehicle, which is why an alarm goes off on your GPS when you are exceeding the speed limit, for example. Most recently, cars have been produced that send out radio signals to the emergency services when they are in an accident. Telematics and their incredible strides in car and road safety, could also connect wireless systems to adaptive cruise control so that the car can be intelligently slowed down by outside traffic alerts and warnings.

Hakan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo made the statement “Our vision is that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo,” and so far their vigilant testing has produced some incredible results. The Volvo XC60 is a beautiful combination of telematics, AI and engineering where the car, without input from the driver, can successfully avoid pedestrians and other obstacles in the road.

Indeed this major advancement of technology in the last couple of years means that driverless cars have become reality and are continuing to grow as an acceptable idea in the minds of the general public.

Just like Wireless Vehicle Safety Communication, Vehicle to Vehicle communication is increasing in it’s role in the driver experience. Just as cars communicate with outside receivers like the police, cars can also communicate with each other. This means in the event of the car in front breaking sharply, surrounding vehicles could respond directly to the vehicle and thus avoid an accident. This is just preliminary application of this technology and is a tentative beginning of limitless possibilities. Such Vehicle to Vehicle communication is an amazing aid to driverless car systems, as they will have access to more information to respond to, making them a much safer was to commute.

Imagine that this form of telematics could be utilised to take over in the event of human error on the road and carefully correct to avoid accidents. Imagine that you fall ill behind the wheel and your car can contact the emergency services.

While, this seems far-fetched now, this technology is not in the distant future anymore.

This idea holds so much influence that the United States Department of Transportation proposed a new rule requiring Vehicle to Vehicle Communication technology in all new cars on December 13th 2016. However, the President of the United States of America has recently called this rule in to question.

As of April 2018 it became mandatory for all newly approved cars to be fitted with automatic emergency alert systems. This standardisation across Europe means that every car produced will have the capability to send out distress signals with precise geolocation tracking so that the emergency services can come straight to you at the touch of a button.

It is without a doubt that this technology will change the way we conduct business in the future. Your health and safety for company drivers will be tighter, your emissions will decrease, and therefore your budgets have more room to breathe. Not to mention the wealth of benefits telematics has outside of your business.

Author: Heather Adams, BEAM

“Wireless vehicle-to-vehicle communication would be required in new cars under proposed DOT rule” (The Verge.) (13/12/2016) https://www.theverge.com/2016/12/13/13936342/wireless-vehicle-to-vehicle-communication-v2v-v2i-dot-nhtsa

“Telematics” (Wikipedia) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telematics

“Telematics explained” (Confused.com) https://www.confused.com/car-insurance/black-box/telematics-explained

“Telematics is revolutionising fleet management” (Financial Times) (APRIL 18, 2016)https://www.ft.com/content/ca557812-c03a-11e5-9fdb-87b8d15baec2

“European eCall now standardizing Vehicle Connectivity” (Continental Corporation) (March 28th 2018) https://www.continental-corporation.com/en/press/press-releases/2018-03-28-ecall-126878

Heather Adams

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