Other Gadgets

If cars could talk

Sabyasachi Biswas | Updated on July 23, 2014

Telematics in personal cars can make your driving experience better, safer and more economical

A sizeable chunk of tech enthusiasts, who also enjoy driving, are waiting for Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto to enter mainstream production and hit the roads soon. And for good reason too – it’ll be a convergence of two very different technologies, making life on the road much easier (or so it seems from what we’ve seen in demos so far).

But embedding computing and telecommunication systems in cars and other automobiles is not a new concept. Telematics, the interwoven system of telecommunication, vehicles, sensors etc. has been around for quite some time. Businesses that utilise a lot of vehicular activity have in fact found telematics to be one of the best solutions to optimise their trades.

By using an array of sensors, GPS and two-way communication systems, businesses can manage their fleets, optimise routes to save time and fuel, track vehicle movement etc.

However, telematics can bring about a huge change in the way cars are personally driven, we at Technophile feel. At a panel discussion recently organised by TVS Automotive Solutions, we explored the new technologies that could make driving economical, and more importantly, safer.

Driving scorecard

At the event, Vishnu G S, Director – Engineering, HARMAN International, along with other panellists, explained ways in which driving could become much safer. For instance, telematics, with the help of proximity sensors, GPS, and sensors for tracking various parameters of the engine, could be used in tandem to create a driver safety scorecard. “By keeping track of your acceleration, braking, speeds and distance from other vehicles on the road, you can learn how safe or otherwise you are on the road,” explained Vishnu. And since these systems will keep a track of your entire driving process, you can know where you’re going wrong and then rectify your errors, he added.

Saving money

“By knowing how safe you drive, you can also save a lot of money on car insurance. In USA and certain European countries, insurance companies use telematics to determine the exact causes of a crash,” said Sanjay Nigam, CEO & President, TVS Automobile Solutions Limited, at the panel discussion.

Once telematics are fully implemented in production cars for personal use, insurance companies around the world may begin determining premiums depending on your driving habits, the information being collected from the telematics systems. So if you keep driving safely, the chances of getting a lower premium are quite high.

Also, by using the data collected by the sensors you can find out how to save more fuel – you may be using the wrong gear at the wrong time, or keeping the car running where you can turn the engine off. And in cases of cars which are shared by different members of a family, the car, using low powered Bluetooth radios on the phone and on the vehicle, can create and recognise different driver profiles (as and when the users pair the phone with the car, or just based on proximity).

Hassle-free experience

Moreover, by having a telematics setup in your car, life can be a lot easier for many of us who forget tiny little things, such as forgetting the keys in the car. By having a car that is always connected to the carmaker, you may just have to open an app on your smartphone to unlock the doors. If you’re stuck on the highway with a faulty gearbox, the manufacturer’s service truck will be dispatched with the right set of spares.“There are a lot of other things that telematics can do to make the entire driving experience much easier, such as sending data constantly to the manufacturer for them to keep a track of everything on your car – you won’t need to even give a call to the company to fix your air-con. They’ll know when it’s broken, and have someone sent over to fix it,” explained Nigam.

Published on July 23, 2014

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