PORTLAND, Ore. -- Telematics systems are quickly becoming standard equipment on new passenger vehicles, according to ABI Research (Oyster Bay, New York), which predicts that 30 million new cars will have onboard telematics units by 2013.
"By 2013 more than 30 million new cars will ship with on-board telematics units, representing a penetration of nearly 44 percent," said ABI Research principal analyst Dominique Bonte.
Telematics, such as General Motors's OnStar and Ford's Sync, benefit consumers by combining global positioning systems with wireless communications technologies for remote diagnostics, concierge services and remote door unlocking, thereby increasing safety, lessening environmental impact and providing infotainment and convenience. OnStar and Sync are slated to become standard equipment on U.S. automobiles, and in Europe eCall (an automated emergency reporting system) is being proposed as mandatory in vehicles by 2011. In the Asia-Pacific region, Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Hyunda offer optional solutions provided by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
Today, telematics systems provide navigational services that include real-time traffic reports localized by vehicle location, as well as fuel economy statistics, tourist sites and even, in some cities, parking-space availability. Many telematics systems, such as Ford's Sync, also offer advanced infotainment services that include iPod synching.
According to ABI Research, the wide availability of GPS technology and worldwide flat-fee data communication fees is driving the market, as are aftermarket telematics systems that offer stolen vehicle tracking, "black box" insurance-related applications and handset-based tracking and speed monitoring to help keep track of the family teenagers.