Combining LBS and the Drive

12/11/2012

Connected devices and M2M-enabled systems continue to become a larger part of our lives, influencing us at work, at home, and even in the automobile. But the lines between these separate domains are starting to blur, as we expect to access the same information in the car that we used to obtain in our living rooms. To meet these needs, automakers and connected technology providers are teaming up.

The connected car isn’t just about connecting vehicle functions; it’s also about bringing other useful data into the automobile. One type of data that fits naturally is LBS (location-based services). When away from home, it’s nice to know what’s nearby. Automakers want to bring more information into the car. For example, BMW, www.bmw.com, is working with MyCityWay, www.mycityway.com, to integrate services into a car-sharing program.

BMW’s DriveNow program launched in June 2012 in San Francisco, providing a car-sharing service composed of premium vehicles. Users register online or in person, and members can then locate and book cars from the DriveNow Website or mobile app. BMW says it will integrate MyCityWay’s LBS mobile platform into the DriveNow fleet. The platform is described as “situationally aware,” meaning it will provide users with information based on their location, as well as other realtime factors.


Some of the location-based data the service provides include weather, traffic, parking, dining, and public transit updates. The idea is to combine these various data points into one platform, providing not only directions to a concert, but parking info and traffic conditions as well.

More information in the vehicle provides options for drivers. Yet carmakers have also been dealing with how to present information in the safest way possible. Recently, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Admin.) released a new analysis of traffic for 2011 that showed some improvement to distracted driving statistics, but also highlighted some concerns.

The analysis showed the number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes rose to 3,331 in 2011 from 3,267 in 2010, which is an increase of 1.9%. The NHTSA says it believes the increase can be attributed in part to increased awareness and reporting. An estimated 387,000 people were injured in distraction-affected crashes, which is a 7% decline from the estimated 416,000 people injured in such crashes in 2010.

Connected World magazine is watching these trends, and the February/March edition will include the second annual Connected Car of the Year award winners, all of which showcase what can be done with in-vehicle technology.

While distracted driving may be gaining more awareness, it’s still something that’s on the minds of all providers of connected-vehicle technology. If used correctly, more easily available information in the vehicle can benefit drivers by helping them stay focused on the road.

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