A company that has launched a new service in the UK to provide business drivers with route and traffic information through a standard mobile phone has plans to extend it throughout Europe.
Yeoman Group, the company behind the new VoxNav system, says it has definite plans to launch the product in France, Germany, Italy and Spain but does not yet know when this will happen.
The company must first ensure the correct UK infrastructure is in place before launching the product elsewhere, it said.
Yeoman group claims to have launched a world first with its VoxNav system that users access by calling from any mobile phone.
The call is answered by an operator who asks for the caller's location and their intended destination. The company says that VoxNav then calculates the best route, taking into account current and predicted traffic conditions.
It provides drivers with a route summary and predicts how long it will take them to get there.
The system constantly monitors the route and, should an incident happen that is likely to significantly delay the driver, it will send a text message to the mobile phone urging the driver to call the centre again and be advised of an alternative route.
Calls to the number cost about 60p (1 Euro) per minute.
The company, based in Hampshire in the UK, has also launched a hands-free car kit that incorporates GPS (global positioning satellite) and allows the call centre operator to know the exact location of the vehicle.
It can use the system to guide drivers to their required destination giving turn-by-turn instructions, Yeoman said.
Speaking at the launch of the system, Yeoman marketing and sales director Mike McIntyre said: 'We don't have a timescale of when we will enter Europe but we are testing how we can transport this technology to other European countries.
'Business users will form a vast proportion of our customer base. Although at this stage we will not be targeting fleet operators expecting them to fit our equipment in all of their cars, we do believe the new service will be popular with individual business users.'
Yeoman chief executive Hugh Agnew said it was impossible to predict how many users the system would attract but that the company has initially set it up to cater for about 20,000 users.
And commenting on the pilot scheme that Yeoman performed with business drivers, he said: 'The response from pilot trials has been positive. For too long people have been wasting time being lost or stuck in traffic and this service will help make our roads more efficient.
'Most of our pilot users were so impressed by the system they would recommend it to a colleague or friend,' Agnew added.
Drivers in the UK can access the service through a normal mobile phone by calling 09050 505050.