Watching you

240415Should you worry about or just embrace the raft of new technologies that not only monitor you but your car too?

Hmmm, sounds almost like in-car CCTV.

Nevertheless, myself and all of us at Fleet Alliance, are always interested in new technologies on cars – even though my lack of ability with a smart phone are the stuff of legend within the office – but I was keen to find out more about Vauxhall’s pioneering personal service assistant, OnStar, that launches in the UK later this year.

Available in 13 markets with eight different languages, OnStar will offer a destination download feature, can deal with the emergency services in an accident, check the health of your vehicle via the diagnostics system, and even help find your car should it be stolen. Handy stuff.

Vauxhall’s OnStar personal assistant has significant fleet telematics potential.

All these services are available via the roof-mounted buttons that comes with OnStar, but even if you’re not in your car there’s a smartphone app with extra functions to make sure you’re never too far from OnStar.

If that’s not enough, the system is a wi-fi hotspot, so you basically get 12-months free wi-fi on top of all the safety and security stuff.

It can run up to five devices – think entertained children and pain-free long journeys – although your passenger and you could lose the art of conversation!

OnStar could also help a fleet manager, as it also has a portal where he or she can go and look at all their vehicles. So for all of their vehicles, they can see the mileage reading each month, the live tyre pressures and finally, if there are any warning lights or not.

Apparently this is the first step, with more fleet telematics services coming on stream later this year.

OnStar will be just the start. Jaguar Land Rover has announced plans to set up an ‘innovation incubator’ at its new Oregon base, to encourage the development of new software for in-car infotainment systems.

JLR’s programme will begin in May and involves several American universities. The carmaker says it will choose about 120 tech start-ups to work with over the next decade. The companies will pitch their ideas to JLR in the hope of gaining support and automotive-related technical guidance to commercialise their concepts.

One such project already in development is called Vonsor. It enables drivers to capture live footage from the car’s onboard cameras, edit them on the vehicle’s touchscreen display and share the result on social media.

Could it be the start of the ‘safe’ selfie while you’re driving?

The thought! Now where did I put my Nokia 5110…