How Telematics is Set to Change Cars As We Know Them


Typically anything that goes on under the bonnet of a car isn't interesting to anyone apart from car geeks. But telematics, despite an off-putting name, is different. Thanks to telematics cars are going to be almost unrecognisable to drive in just a few years time.

Most drivers will have heard of telematics as the latest way to reduce the cost of car insurance. Especially popular with young drivers with higher premiums, small telematics devices are placed inside the car as part of the insurance policy. Those who agree to fit them get an instant reduction in the premium they pay, although they have to be extra careful to drive well. The devices track how you drive, allowing both you and the insurance company access to the data. This is already helping those who install it to alter their driving technique in order to be safer and more fuel efficient. Some of the apps developed for telematic boxes show photos of streets where you've driven badly, so you know to be careful in future when driving on that stretch of road. Typically problems are from over-acceleration or breaking too sharply, technique that is often easy to rectify and can lead to fuel efficiency and safer driving.

But telematics isn't just for those who want to monitor their driving or save money on their car insurance. Telematics combines information about your car with GPS and internet connectivity. Together these technologies offer a winning combination for making driving a more enjoyable experience. Data from telematics boxes can be used to instantly update traffic management systems and inform drivers who might hit the traffic to take different routes, saving everyone from having to wait in traffic jams. No more waiting for the traffic radio broadcasts or drivers to report problems to their Sat Nav provider, the cars will do this automatically and in much less time.

Telematics could also help modify routes given by mapping systems to your style of driving. If you car detects you're better at driving on smaller roads than motorways, the mapping system could favour a route that avoids motorways. Contacting emergency services in the event of an accident could also be made much easier by telematics. If the device detects a collision and damage to the car it could automatically inform the authorities - something that could prove life saving in a crash on a quiet road with no witnesses. The devices will connect to the internet and transmit data from the car include its position from the GPS chip to the ambulance and police services, as well as breakdown recovery services.

It is also making huge strides in car insurance with a service called black box insurance where a tracker is fitted in your car and it tells the insurer how you drive. That information is relayed using telematics and then your insurance premium is adjusted accordingly. The better you drive the less you pay.

The potential for integration with social media is great too. If you're driving to a dinner with friends that has an event on Facebook and your running late, one day your car will be able to inform Facebook that you're going to be half an hour late allowing them to slow down the cooking so the meal isn't cold when you arrive. However the biggest use of telematics is one that will truly change how we drive. It will take us out of the driving seat completely. Successful tests of self-driving cars are being conducted right now that rely on telematics to relay information from sensors around the car and GPS to the internet which combines this with route and traffic data to drive the car. Google has conducted over half a million kilometres of driving using this technology without a single accident. Telematics powered self-driving cars are already with us, they're just fine tuning the product and waiting for legislative approval. In just a few years time all you'll need to do is sit down, tell the car where you want to go, and enjoy the ride.

Contributed by: www.telematics.com

Image Source: Brian Snelson / Flickr - Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons 2.0

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