What is Telematics?
Nowadays, we hear about the term ‘Telematics’ a lot. What is it really? Let’s find out here. It comprises of two words – Tele for Telecommunications & Matics for Informatics (Data). Telematics is the merging of telecommunications and informatics to send and receive data. It is a method of capturing and processing driving data. Technology is extensive, but manufacturers have adapted it to suit the automotive industry. It is mainly offered in high-end vehicles for driver assistance, safety, and comfort.
The exchange of data could be between vehicle to vehicle (V2V) or between vehicle and external sources (V2X). External sources could be a satellite, sensors along the road, emergency services, or the vehicle’s authorized service station. The services provided through telematics assist other features, and sometimes, they provide their own feature/s. You use some of the features every day, while you may never need to use others.
One of the most common telematics service features is satellite navigation. The satellite sends real-time traffic information to your vehicle as you turn on the sat-nav. It also sends information such as the best possible route to your destination and/or the points of interest around your current location.
How Does Telematics System Work?
A smart device (computer or control unit) fitted in the vehicle captures the driving data and sends it wirelessly to the cloud server to analyze it. The analysis helps the service provider promote safe driving, provide emergency assistance and certain products or privileges to its users. Some vehicles constantly monitor the components prone to wear and tear and parts that need to change periodically, such as oil & filter.
However, when the system detects that these parts need replacement, the Telematics system automatically contacts the authorized dealer. It alerts them and also sets up an appointment. Apart from just setting up the appointment, the service station knows exactly what needs servicing. Thus, the minimum time is wasted during servicing and the parts arranged beforehand.
Furthermore, you can easily trace the location of your vehicle using Telematics in the case of theft. The system monitors your vehicle’s location as the vehicle sends a signal to the service dealer as soon as someone breaches any of the anti-theft systems. You can continuously track the vehicle until it is recovered. Besides, Telematics also provides another important feature – Internet access. It may not be the full-scale internet as on your desktop. However, you can still perform some basic tasks such as sending/receiving e-mails, read news, and other updates by using the infotainment system to access them through a mobile/wireless internet network.
Telematics is also very useful in cases of emergencies. For example, if your vehicle is involved in a serious accident or breakdown, it sends a signal to the emergency services or service dealer. So, the service providers could send necessary assistance as soon as possible.
Following are the 3 core components of a vehicle Telematics system:
- Telematics Control Unit
- Cloud server
- Applications (Front-End)
Furthermore, manufacturers use custom acronyms for the various Telematics services in their vehicles. Mercedes Benz Mbrace, GM’s OnStar, Lexus Enform, BMW Assist, and BMW Online are examples. At times, the word ‘Telematics’ doesn’t specifically appear as a feature in specifications. However, manufacturers integrate it into high-end vehicles in many ways to make certain functions easier. TomTom, FleetBoard, AirIQ, and ActSoft are some of the other popular Telematics services providers in the world.
- Automated Driving
- Navigation for automobiles
- Traffic and travel information
- Fleet Analytics
- Fleet Maintenance
- Trailer Management
- Insurance solutions