ERM Advanced Telematics, the Israel-based subsidiary of the Ituran Group – one of the leading providers of advanced tracking and protection services for vehicles and drivers – designs, develops and manufactures solutions for connected cars, telematics, driver & passenger safety, diagnostic and vehicle security. Auto Tech Review recently met Eitan Kirshenboim, Chief Marketing Officer and Director, Business Development, ERM Advanced Telematics to know more about the latest innovations in the automotive telematics space.
RAPID EVOLUTION OF VEHICLE TRACKING CAPABILITIES
The industry has been witnessing rapid evolution of vehicle tracking capabilities since they were globally deployed at the beginning of the millennium. The vehicle tracking technology initially focused on identifying a vehicle’s location using GPS. With cellular communications getting more affordable, the market is witnessing a growing demand for extra services such as add-on sensors to the tracking device, picking up data transmitted from the vehicle and facilitating communication with all kind of traditionally standalone devices such as mobile data terminals and tachographs, among others, said Kirshenboim.
There is a huge requirement for connectivity, enabling Bluetooth (BLE), Wi-Fi and wider cellular bandwidth such as 4G and 5G to support video stream and other infotainment requirements. Connectivity is paramount for V2V, V2I or V2X communication. Even autonomous cars are leveraging a similar technology that enables the vehicle to communicate with its surroundings so that it can receive and transmit information that will enhance driver and passenger safety, and also assist the fleet manager in gaining valuable information to improve the overall fleet performance, Kirshenboim noted.
ERM has developed a patented solution for stolen vehicle recovery application that helps its partners to track and locate stolen vehicles, when a frequency jammer was used in the course of action. This solution is based on the V2V technology the company has developed, allowing its partners to grow their businesses. It is currently working on implementing technologies for fleets in private cars that will enable drivers to obtain more information about their vehicle, their trip and the road ahead. The company is also developing solutions such as the soon-to-be-launched StarLink Tracker, which is equipped with Wi-Fi, Hot Spot, Bluetooth and 4G cellular communication capabilities, representing the ultimate solution for a connected car, as well as fleet management and stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) operations and other required functionalities the market needs.
Given the advancements in automotive telematics, transmitting and analysing massive amounts of data will be a huge challenge, Kirshenboim said. The company is witnessing increasing demand for OBD and CAN BUS interfaces in order to extract relevant data from the vehicle’s sensors and ECUs and provide information regarding the vehicle health at all times.
INDIAN TELEMATICS MARKET
Speaking about the Indian auto industry, Kirshenboim said it has various challenges; the telematics market in India, specifically, has a long way to go. Although there is an increasing trend of local companies offering affordable solutions, they fall short of global standards, he stated. Having said that, the telematics market is evolving very rapidly and ERM is well aware of that. Such evolution demands that the company develops innovative solutions as well as adopt a flexible approach towards answering different customer needs.
The company offers four advanced solutions – solutions for tracking & vehicle security; driver & passenger safety features; vehicle diagnostics; and fuel monitoring & integration to a variety of sensors and add-ons. Customers integrate the ERM technology and solutions to their software and services that enables them to provide full end-to-end fleet management and stolen vehicle recovery services, including hardware, software, installations and technical support.
HIGH R&D FOCUS
EMR places high focus on R&D towards developing and customising its solutions as per specific requirements mandated by its partners. It has developed a flexible technology that supports multiple applications. ERM provides a combination of technologies and features in a variety of hardware products to meet its customer requirements. This is possible due to the long-term customer trust ERM has gained over the years.
The industry is working towards realising its vision of an autonomous car, where telematics will hold the key. There is a growing focus on technologies for connected cars, enabling it to transmit and receive valuable information from their surroundings (V2V, V2X). These capabilities will help provide fully active autonomous vehicles that can communicate with each other, and help predict and respond to obstacles and hazards during the trip, the ERM CMO stated.
The IoT communication is enabled by the foundation of telematics, just as telematics help enable autonomous cars, car sharing, fleet management among others at the same time. Several aftermarket service providers offer mobile apps for better communication between the vehicle and its owner. Kirshenboim said this trend will continue growing and with the industry moving towards autonomous cars, it will soon enable functionalities like ‘calling’ the car to arrive from its parking, and ‚pick me up‘ from the office or home.
ERM has been present in the Indian market over the last four and a half years and is forging new partnerships with local service providers, assisting them in foraying into new markets and improving their operations besides working closely with leading Indian OEMs.
TEXT: Suhrid Barua