What is Telematics?

Vikram Sehjpal

Telematics refers to the integration of computing, wireless communications and Global Positioning System (GPS) for sending, receiving and storing information over vast networks. More specifically, the term refers to automobile systems that provide a variety of emergency and navigational services to motorists. Telematics devices allow drivers to browse the Internet, send and receive e-mails, receive live traffic updates, listen to satellite radio, and perform various other activities. The best part is that all these things can be done hands-free.

A telematics system can tell a car owner when an oil change is due.
A telematics system can tell a car owner when an oil change is due.

Telematics systems allow a driver to interact with his vehicle in his own voice. So, if you are driving on an unfamiliar route, you may ask your car to find the shortest route to your destination. Within seconds, a navigation system reads back the directions. You can check e-mail and review upcoming appointments by passing verbal instructions to your computer. You can also browse the local paper and receive stock updates while driving. The computer can report when an oil change or a service is due, and ask whether to make an appointment at the dealer.

Telematics are used to monitor air pollution.
Telematics are used to monitor air pollution.

Telematics can be quite useful during emergency situations. The moment a safety measure is detected in a car, like when the check check engine light goes on, the telematics system sends a message to the operator. Within seconds, the operator calls up the car to confirm the safety of the passengers. In case there is a problem, the operator sends help. The GPS unit tells the operator where to send the police and ambulance.

Telematics can make a stolen car easier to locate.
Telematics can make a stolen car easier to locate.

The availability of telematics-enabled cars has risen dramatically over the past few years. Today, telematics is either standard or optional equipment in most high-end vehicles.

Telematics systems can provide motorists with various emergency and navigational services.
Telematics systems can provide motorists with various emergency and navigational services.

The future of telematics looks bright. If you have forgotten your keys inside the car and the doors have been locked, the telematics system can unlock it for you. If you are sitting in a restaurant and your car\'s alarm goes off, the system can inform you; and if your car is stolen, the telematics system will make it much easier to locate. Voice-based web access is also a possibility.

Telematics may be useful in directing ambulances to situations that require emergency help.
Telematics may be useful in directing ambulances to situations that require emergency help.

Apart from the automobile industry, telematics is being used for monitoring water and air pollution, health care, and for distance learning.

Telematics can be used tell an ambulance where to go.
Telematics can be used tell an ambulance where to go.

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