Posted by Dale Buss on May 28, 2013 07:20 PM
General Motors believes that OnStar finally may be ready to leapfrog other automotive "telematics" players who got ahead of the brand over the last several years even though OnStar was the industry's original infotainment platform.
The key? GM's deal wtih AT&T to provide 4G LTE connectivity—the fastest type of wireless Internet connection now available—through Onstar next year, according to Automotive News. OnStar already is a profit-margin powerhouse for GM, but CEO Dan Akerson told analysts recently that the 4G deal will open up "what I think are potentially lucrative lines of business that don't exist in OnStar today. So when we look at what we can do with a 4G pipe into a car," said Akerson, whose background is in telecom, "you can change the business model almost entirely."Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on April 26, 2013 06:56 PM
Many brands are respectfully coming forward with various kinds of support for the victims of the Boston bombings last week and for Beantown itself. And then there's Mercedes-Benz, whose products played a singular role in actually bringing the crime and terror spree to its end.
"It's a great feeling to have been able to assist with that," Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman Donna Boland told brandchannel.
It was common knowledge that the Tsarnaev brothers allegedly had carjacked a Mercedes-Benz ML 350, taking its owner on a rambling journey around the Boston area on the night of April 18—a trek that ended up in the death of one brother and the capture of the other that same night in Watertown, Mass.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 29, 2012 04:45 PM
More auto brands are jockeying to be able to take your pulse instead of quicken it when you drive. Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and other makes are joining Ford in developing, researching and — in some early cases — deploying body-monitoring technology that addresses everything from driver sleepiness to low blood sugar.
In-vehicle biometrics and telematics is an interesting trend at a time when some automakers continue to struggle to make the very basics of passenger-compartment information technology understandable and acceptable to vehicle owners, such as the controls for on-board audio systems and smartphone connections.
But at the risk of being left behind by some new technology applications that catches consumers' fancy, auto companies are combining major advances in their own electronics with leaps in medical-monitoring technology largely in the hopes of appealing to an aging population, as noted by the Wall Street Journal.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 25, 2012 03:11 PM
Auto-insurance companies have already gone quite far down the road toward swapping detailed information about their policyholders' driving habits for premium discounts, using all sorts of onboard devices including GPS and other technologies. Privacy advocates, naturally, have raised some concerns about this practice.
But now, Allstate is taking this discipline at least one step further by enlisting interested employees and agency owners in a massive test of its Drive Wise telematics-based system. Already available in Illinois, Ohio and Arizona, Drive Wise will be rolled out to inside participants in additional states this year to gather still more data that, the insurance company says, will help it "identify the safer driving habits that can earn participating customers driving discounts on their car insurance." The safer the driver, the bigger the savings.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 11, 2012 06:06 PM
Turns out that maybe American drivers are more sensible than either the U.S. government or automakers give them credit for. New research shows that when it comes to "infotainment" and "telematics" in cars, auto owners are much more interested in Point-A-to-Point-B applications such as navigation than they are in making sure they can feed their Twitter account from the driver's seat.
Mobile applications are encroaching in the vehicle — look at Ford's Sync voice-activated technology, Hyundai's Blue Link, GM's OnStar, the Mercedes-Benz "iPhone on wheels" concept and Apple's iOS 6 announcement that it's integrating Siri voice recognition as an "eyes-free" (from the device, not the road) digital sherpa. Look for Siri voice command buttons on the steering wheels of upcoming vehicles from nine automakers: Land Rover/Jaguar, BMW, GM, Mercedes, Audi, Toyota, Chrysler, and Honda. (Update: the news took at least one of the auto brands by surprise — Fast Company reports that Chrysler wasn't aware of being included in Apple's announcement.)
But for all the push of technology and connectivity into the passenger seat, consumers don't want Facebook and Twitter integrated into the driving experience, nor are they looking for a Zooey Deschanel-style chat about adding reminders or what to listen to (sorry, Siri).Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 2, 2011 03:00 PM
Americans would agree that they don’t want carmakers in the bedroom or their accountant’s office. But what about their doctor’s office?
Ford, Toyota and General Motors are among auto companies developing and demonstrating new technologies that could turn their vehicles into rolling health clinics, with various types of telematics (electronic systems) able to monitor heart rates, blood-sugar readings, air quality for asthmatics and other safety criteria and medical conditions.
The technology is relatively "easy" because modern cars already are highly advanced electronic environments full of sensors, digital readouts, wireless-communications devices and other essential building blocks of medical-monitoring systems. And automakers argue that the need is a crying one: About 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day, and 26 million Americans have diabetes.Continue reading...