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Be aware more quickly and safely: Telematics needed now on the streets and in cars Blaupunkt calls for consistent implementation


· Integration of traffic telematics and driver assistance functions

· Diversity of vehicle and traffic information changes driver’s workplace

· More rapid standardization of basic functions and interfaces

Technologies designed to provide better traffic control are now urgently needed on the streets and in vehicles. And they could and should be implemented more rapidly. That’s how Dr. Uwe Thomas, President of Bosch subsidiary Blaupunkt, sees the potential of traffic telematics. During the 3rd German Telematics Forum in Berlin, Thomas spoke about the current and future telematics devices and called for “a taste for more and more consistent implementation of traffic telematics”.

Convenient terminal devices
As Blaupunkt’s President pointed out, the Hildesheim-based company has been selling equipment that is specially designed to take full advantage of special traffic telematics applications for close to ten years now. This equipment includes car radios and navigation systems that are able to evaluate current traffic conditions on the basis of the Traffic Message Channel (TMC) data broadcast by radio stations and are of invaluable assistance to drivers who want to avoid traffic congestion on highways and other major roads. There are, however, also special terminal devices for truck and trailer telematics: Blaupunkt has successfully marketed professional solutions for fleet management and the central monitoring of truck cabs and trailers for years.

These applications alone already indicate what benefits traffic telematics has to offer. They range from increasing efficiency to the systematic enhancement of traffic flow and greater safety provided by early warnings of possible dangers to such aspects of environmental protection as toxic emissions and traffic noise right on up to quicker and more up-to-date traffic information. The latter enables drivers to react much earlier to reports of traffic congestion and makes driving much less stressful and much safer.

Improved information on the traffic situation
According to Uwe Thomas, it would already be possible to further improve traffic conditions today – and quite easily, too, via the Internet. All that would be required is a flexible allocation and accelerated update of the traffic data in the information channels as well as a greater bandwidth for these channels. Thomas sees the solution in using the DAB/TPEG standard (Digital Audio Broadcasting/Transport Protocol Experts Group).

In inner-city areas, it is also sometimes possible to bypass residential areas when information on traffic congestion is coded and received by a navigation device. This was already explored and successfully implemented in traffic management projects some time ago – during Blade Night, for example, an inline-skating event in Munich.

The driver’s workplace becomes more important
With all the potential that such applications display, the growing diversity of traffic telematics and vehicle-specific information will have a definite impact on the driver’s workplace. That’s why it is necessary, despite all this additional information, to design it so that everything remains easy to operate. After all, the amount and complexity of the information must not transform the driver’s cockpit into the type of environment that we know from airplanes. “We have to push ahead with the integration of traffic telematics applications and driver assistance functions” – said Thomas.

The solution to the easy operation and management of the widely diverse information lies in convenient traffic telematics terminal units that use intuitive, easy-to-understand interfaces between man and machine (Human-Machine Interface – HMI). They use easy operating and display systems to reduce the stress and strain on the driver in absorbing and utilizing a wide variety of different information on such things as road conditions, traffic conditions or traffic signs. The Blaupunkt President currently sees a bright future for head-up displays, which project information onto the windshield, right into the driver’s primary range of vision. There is no need for the driver to take his/her eyes off the road. “This makes it possible for the driver to assimilate this traffic information quickly and safely.”

Standardization of interfaces
In addition to improved operating ergonomics, Uwe Thomas also believes that a broadly based standardization of basic traffic telematics functions and interfaces will be required quickly – in the infrastructure as well as in the terminal units. Up until now, manufacturer-specific solutions in particular have been given preference in Germany. Thomas claims that there is no shortage of technical ideas on the topic of telematics; what is lacking, however, are business models that allow a collective added value. “Once we have that, traffic telematics can become a success on the streets and in vehicles.”

Blaupunkt, a company belonging to the Bosch Group, is an internationally leading manufacturer of driver information systems, car radios, car speakers and vehicle antennas. Blaupunkt has its main headquarters in Hildesheim, Germany, and maintains other production sites in Portugal, Hungary, Tunisia and Malaysia. The company posted sales of more than Euro 1.4 billion in fiscal year 2005 and employs more than 9,000 people worldwide.

PI5499 - July 2006


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