The U.S. government tells automakers that, expensive or not, backup cams will be the law come 2018, as Ford and Cadillac exchange ad fire on the EV battlefield. Andrew Tolve reports.
In this week’s Brief: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Tesla Motors, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Orange Business Services,TomTom Business Solutions, Continental, Telefónica, TeliaSonera, AT&T, Ford, Cadillac and GLONASS.
It’s official: All consumer vehicles manufactured on or after May 1, 2018, must come with rear-view “backup” cameras installed as standard fit in the United States. That includes buses and trucks under 10,000 pounds. The new mandate from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been delayed four times since it was first proposed in 2010, in what was a classic battle between safety advocates and automakers wary of the additional cost.
Safety advocates hailed the victory, noting that there is an average of 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries per year caused by backover crashes. Children under five years old account for 31% of these fatalities each year, and adults 70 and older for additional 26%. The backup cameras will cost between $58 and $203, and the NHTSA estimates that industry-wide adoption of the ADAS technology will save between 95 and 112 lives annually.
"Rear visibility requirements will save lives and will save many families from the heartache suffered after these tragic incidents occur," said David Friedman, the NHTSA’s acting administrator. "We're already recommending this kind of life-saving technology through our NCAP program and encouraging consumers to consider it when buying cars today."
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers responded to the news of the decision with the announcement that, if the government is going to take such a pro-camera-in-cars stance, then it should do so with all cameras, which would allow automakers to replace sideview and rearview mirrors with cameras as well. The advocacy group argues that cameras will open opportunities for additional design innovation and will help reduce noise and fuel consumption. Loping off sideview and rearview mirrors has been shown to decrease drag by 2% to 7%.
Automakers like Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz andNissan already have cars on the market with sideview and rearview cameras, and Tesla Motors would like to follow suit on its Model X, although given the time it took to move legislation on backup cameras, any quick change in the near future is unlikely.
In other news, PSA Peugeot Citroën announced that it will launch a fleet management solution in April covering the entire Peugeot and Citroën line-up. Connectivity via Orange Business Services will link an autonomous telematics box (ATB) to a vehicle's CAN bus, allowing for wireless reports of kilometer readings, fuel consumption and mechanical alerts. In addition, the solution offers real-time information on hours of use and geographic location.
Also in fleet, TomTom Business Solutions changed its name to TomTom Telematics, a tweak meant to represent the company’s increasing emphasis on its telematics software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, WEBFLEET. TomTom says that moving forward WEBFLEET will be the company’s leading product brand for the fleet management market. Other than that, nothing changes.
On the infotainment front, Continental illuminated details of its new 4G LTE “Telematics Module,” which will hit markets in 2016, offering advanced Cloud services and lifestyle apps. The module bills itself as a global solution that supports a range of cellular technologies (LTE, HSPA, EVDO, GSM, and CDMA), satellite navigation data (GPS/GLONASS) and national frequency variants in the United States, Europe, Russia, China, Brazil and more. Ergo, one module that wears many hats.
In EV news, Tesla Motors made a deal with Telefónica to provide connectivity for the Tesla Model S in Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Tesla already has connectivity deals with TeliaSonera in Scandinavia and AT&T in the United States.
Ford, meanwhile, fired a zinger at Cadillac, which recently released an ad for its first electric car, the Cadillac ELR. The Cadillac ad features a suave, rich guy singing praises to America’s work-hard, money-first, consumerist culture, which allows Americans to indulge in cool gizmos, like the ELR. Ford’s response: A decidedly more earthy, worldly and negative take on American consumerism, which it turns into an argument for its EV, the Ford Focus Electric. You be the judge as to who won the battle: Cadillac vs. Ford.
Finally, in what appeared to be an April Fools gag but turned out to be no gag at all, Russia’s global positioning satellite system, GLONASS, transmitted corrupt data for 12 hours on April 1, wreaking havoc on some chipsets around the world. The problem stemmed from the fact that GLONASS has relatively few ground stations around the world (especially compared to GPS), meaning that when the system failed to transmit properly with one ground system, it had to wait 12 hours for a second reading. Many chipsets harness both GPS and GLONASS, so global chaos, with PNDs and smartphones providing drivers with faulty directions, was averted. Nonetheless, some chipsets did report errors, and Russian officials say they’re aware of the problem and are already at work constructing more ground stations, the first in Nicaragua.
The Weekly Brief is a round-up of the week’s top telematics news, combining TU analysis with information from industry press releases.
Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to TU.
For all the latest telematics trends, check out Content and Apps for Automotive Europe 2014 on April 8-9 in Munich, Germany, Insurance Telematics Europe 2014 on May 6-7 in London, Telematics India and South Asia 2014 on May 28-29 in Bangalore, India, Insurance Telematics Canada 2014 on May 28-29 in Toronto, Telematics Detroit 2014 on June 4-5 in Novi, Michigan, Advanced Automotive Safety USA 2014 on July 8-9 in Novi, Michigan, Insurance Telematics USA 2014 on Sept. 3-4 in Chicago, and Telematics Munich 2014 on Nov. 10-11 in Munich, Germany.
For exclusive telematics business analysis and insight, check out TU’s reports: Insurance Telematics Report 2014, Connected Fleet Report 2014, The Automotive HMI Report 2013 and Telematics Connectivity Strategies Report 2013.