What Is Vehicle Telematics?

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Car telematics serves a number of useful purposes for drivers everywhere. This technology keeps people from getting lost, offers an easy way to receive roadside assistance and collects data that can be used in a few important ways. Telematics combines navigation, safety, security and communication into one convenient piece of technology that fits in a vehicle’s dashboard. Automotive telematics systems receive wireless information and transmit it through a crash-resistant box.

When the everyday driver thinks of telematics in cars, they are probably most familiar with GPS navigation or two-way communication capabilities that can connect them with road assistance. These are definitely the most common uses for commercial vehicle telematics, though there are others.

Common Features of a Telematics System in Cars

Most telematics systems come with a set of common features that are available with basic subscription packages.

Automatic Collision Notification

Drivers with telematics in cars can have the peace of mind of knowing that if they are ever in a crash, help is on the way. The telematics system can automatically detect the collision and summon help. The modem is protected and crash-resistant, so it will work even in the event of a severe accident. The antenna signal is typically stronger than that of a mobile phone, which means the system can reach the call center in most areas.

Emergency Assistance

A telematics system features an SOS button that can be used to get help for an emergency that isn’t related to a crash. This is a powerful security measure in case you need medical assistance or witness a crime unfolding. The communication system will allow you to reach the appropriate emergency service personnel for immediate assistance.

Good Samaritan Assistance

The SOS button can also help you assist others in need. If you witness an accident or other emergency, you can press the button to send emergency assistance to the scene.

Roadside Assistance

You’ll never be stranded on the road due to a mechanical failure if you use a telematics system. The SOS button can summon help in the event of a flat tire or breakdown or if you run out of fuel. Using the GPS technology, assistance can find you quickly.

Vehicle Diagnostics

This feature allows you to receive a monthly email report on the condition of your car. You can choose to have diagnostics run at any time and sent to your car dealer. This capability helps to prevent breakdowns and helps dealers and customers save money.

Additional Telematics Features

Gas Price Finder

Use a telematics system to help you find great fuel savings. Navigation features will find local gas stations, list the prices and direct you there.

Local Search

Telematics can include the same types of apps you may find on your smartphone, like Yelp or Google Local Search. You can use this feature to find local attractions like restaurants, hotels, malls, nightspots and more with reviews at the ready.

News Alerts

You may choose to equip your telematics system with a news app that deliver news alerts or weather information. This pairs well with satellite radio options and can be set to automatically use your preferred channel for news broadcasts.

Media Streaming

While most vehicles can connect to streaming services using Bluetooth to communicate with a cellphone, in some cases, your telematics system will have an application to stream music from applications like Pandora.

Text Message Display

Text message and email display can eliminate the temptation to engage in unsafe behaviors behind the wheel. A telematics system can read incoming texts and emails and offer the option to send a dictated response. Some vehicle manufacturers will allow for a text display in addition to audio, while others don’t enable this feature.

Enhanced Automatic Crash Notification (E-ACN)

E-ACN systems use data collected from sensors to analyze the extent of damage done to the vehicle and assess the likelihood of severe injury to passengers. This can save lives and further injury by informing passengers of their need to be careful and summoning medical care directly to the scene.

Geofencing

Geofencing is most often used for vehicles driving in commercial fleets, but sometimes, parents of new drivers find it helpful, too. It can issue a warning when the vehicle exceeds a certain speed or a set distance.

It’s clear that telematics systems are the way of the future because of their ability to improve safety, efficiency and convenience. No matter how you may want to use this technology, any driver can benefit from installing these systems.

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Peter K. Lam

With a love for all things digital, Peter has been working within digital marketing and technology for over ten years. Having done SEO, SEM, content marketing and project management, Peter now brings his experience together on a global scale by creating organic digital campaigns for Teletrac Navman. He earned his bachelor's degree in English from California State University, Fullerton and spent most of his career involved in a variety of digital marketing roles before joining the Teletrac Navman team.