Fleet News

Fleets to play key role in telematics revolution

FLEETS are set to spearhead a revolution in intelligent transport systems and services which will allow drivers to call for breakdown and recovery assistance, summon emergency vehicles and request traffic, travel and other information at the push of a button. The RAC, which has formed 'a loose alliance' with mobile telecommunication companies Nokia and Germany-based Mannesmann Autocom, is holding negotiations with all the major car manufacturers with a view to fitting traffic telematics hardware either on production lines or making systems available on a retrofit basis.

It has also spoken to Britain's two largest leasing companies - Lex Vehicle Leasing and Cowie Interleasing - about fleet interest and hopes to launch a trial next year, six to eight months ahead of launching the telematics system.

A telematics unit in a car linked to a cellular telephone and using the satellite-based Global Positioning System, which instantly locates a vehicle's position, would provide the car driver with a link to all services which could be chosen from an RAC-provided menu. Access to services would operate via telephone pushbuttons. Motorists would also be able to talk to emergency centre and breakdown service staff should the need arise.

The new technology, which debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show and can also be seen at next month's London Motor Show, is also seen as playing a key role in reducing road congestion and pollution.

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