“Satellite navigation was a telematics killer application that the automotive industry couldn’t exploit,” says Dave Marples, chief scientist for systems developers Technolution.
Telematics basically marry computers and (wireless) telecommunications technologies, but auto manufacturers often narrow this down to navigation systems when applied to ‘vehicle telematics’.
A big problem for automotive manufacturers is the speed of development in electronics. Systems installed in vehicles are outdated while the vehicle is still relatively young. In-vehicle systems need to be ‘updatable’ to take advantage of developments in telematics services and the infrastructure behind them.
Marples, who is also chief architect of the Global System for Telematics (GST) project, says ‘nomadic devices’ – not built into the vehicle – are one solution to this obsolescence problem. The device could be a handheld computer, or even a super satellite navigation (SatNav) system that establishes a connection with the vehicle’s computer systems.
“We came up with the term ‘nomadic device’ because we didn’t want to constrain what that device did and what it looked like,” says Marples. “In some ways, we were looking for the telematics equivalent of the DIN slot [where you insert] the car radio.”
“SatNav is a computation platform in your vehicle that is more powerful than the PC you had on your desktop five years ago,” notes Marples. The speedy development of a mass market for SatNav illustrates the potential for telematics – and the lessons for the automotive industry.
Most people already carry mobile phones and they will not want to carry two small computers – one dedicated to the car. Five years ago, companies were trying to get consumers to carry PDAs in their pockets. Instead, mobile phones have increasingly included PDA-style applications.
“The mobile phone has its own power supply, it can do things independently of the vehicle, and because it tends to be on the person, it is in the safe cell in the middle of the vehicle,” explains Marples. It would also mean that older vehicles could use eCall, the emergency call service that is activated manually by vehicle occupants or automatically via in-vehicle sensors following a crash.
The downside of the mobile phone as a nomadic device is the need for a complicated communication link between the vehicle and the phone, a link which is open to disruption. “One of the biggest discussion areas in GST was what the communication link between the nomadic device and the machine would look like,” explains Marples who is also professor of telecommunications at Sterling University, Scotland.
The EU-funded GST project ended in Spring 2007. It has helped to shape a framework – a common design language – that will enable the development of telematics applications running in vehicles from a range of manufacturers, and enable vehicles from different manufacturers to communicate or share data. But it will probably be ten years before we know GST’s long-term impact, Marples suggests.
The GST research teams looked at the development of the overall architecture for end-to-end telematics; the certification requirements of the telematics industry; payment and billing systems; and telematics’ system security.
It also coordinated three projects that looked at specific telematics applications: ‘Rescue’ (preparing the standardisation necessary to develop a fully integrated incident response chain across Europe); ‘Enhanced Floating Car Data’ (using vehicle systems as floating traffic sensors to monitor vehicle performance and congestion levels on the roads); and ‘Safety Channel’ (a cost-effective broadcast mechanisms to communicate safety information to drivers).Money matters, and so do standards
GST made one issue clear. The in-vehicle telematics systems of the future will not be devoted to single proprietary applications. While they understand the long-term need for standardisation, automakers’ desire to capture a share of the lucrative mobile communications revenues led them to develop proprietary telematics solutions. But the penny has dropped.
Automakers now recognise they will have to design systems that run multiple applications, notes Marples. “I don’t think people had really accepted this until we started GST. People paid lip service to the idea, but it is not the same thing as saying that they would do something about it.”
Ahmed ElAmin | alfa
Stable magnetic bit of three atoms
21.09.2017 | Sonderforschungsbereich 668
Drones can almost see in the dark
20.09.2017 | Universität Zürich
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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