Top 7 connected navigation & smart mobility news – 2016/08


Here comes the era of driverless car?

At the end of each month, we handpick and summarize 7 most critical and exciting stories in the industry. Also check the hyperlink to the original article to read more, enjoy and have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

  • Amazon teamed up with Hyundai, to provide remote control on Genesis G80 & G90 models through Amazon Echo’s voice command. Alexa, please start up my car!
  • Verizon to acquire Fleetmatics for $2.4 billion dollars and becomes one of the most powerful telematics players in the industry.
  • Rastrac partners with Magellan to provide GPS tracking, truck navigation and FMCSA electronic logging device (ELD) – compliant HOS service for fleets and individual truckers.

RASTRAC and Magellan to Demonstrate Hours of Service ELD Compliance at the Great American Truck Show


RASTRAC and Magellan co-exhibit at GATS 2016 with ELD-compliant HOS tracking app

RASTRAC, a leader in the GPS tracking and fleet management industry, and Magellan, a leader in GPS navigation devices, announced that they will be demonstrating fleet tracking with Hours of Service (HOS) compliance through an electronic logging device (ELD) this week at the Great American Truck Show (GATS Booth #17027).

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued HOS regulations which were aimed at managing the working hours of anyone who operates a commercial motor vehicle in the United States. Since 1938, these were all recorded in paper logs manually and were practically impossible to verify. In 2015, FMCSA added the Final Rule, which requires the use of an ELD which will monitor engine hours, vehicle movement, miles driven, and location information. All paper logs are to be transitioned to ELDs no later than December 18, 2017.

In working together, RASTRAC and Magellan are able to assist the approximately three million drivers that will be impacted by this new law. As Randy Safford, Director of Subscription Sales at RASTRAC states, “With RASTRAC’s 23 years of supplying GPS tracking, and Magellan’s 35 years of supplying GPS and Navigation services, we will form a team with over 50 years of experience to serve the fleet and trucking industry with advanced fleet management solutions.”

“Magellan is pleased to be working with RASTRAC to offer the MagellanRoadMate Commercial RC9660-3Y truck navigation device with ELD compliant HOS as part of a complete solution with Rastrac’s Fleet Management services.” stated Mark Perini, vice president of Magellan’s automotive business.

You can read the original press release here. For more information, visit RASTRAC on the web at, and Magellan at

How smart cities solve traffic congestion and improve driving safety


Columbus is the “Smartest City in the United States”

Traffic jams are a universal pain for drivers. Let’s face it, no one wants to spend 2+ hours a day driving to and from work, and with few productive options available while driving, much of this time ends up being a total waste. Thanks to the launch of emerging connectivity technology and IoT applications, well-designed vehicle to everything (V2X) communication systems have become both near-term (smart sensor and road-sharing) and long-term (self-driving vehicles) solutions for tackling metropolitan traffic congestion, and shortening your daily commute.

Smart City Challenge

In order to help come up with the best V2X application and infrastructure implementation at a city level, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) launched Smart City Challenge in December 2015, attracting more 78 applications nationwide in US. The USDOT and Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. even pledged $50 million combined to the winner. The winning city will become the country’s first city to fully integrate V2X technologies for innovative applications such as self-driving cars, car-sharing mechanisms, connected vehicles, and smart sensors – directly into their transportation network.  After four-month long evaluations by both government and industry leaders, Columbus won the competition and the $50 million of funding. However, the story didn’t end here; the competition inspired various city initiatives tackling traffic congestions, driver safety and autonomous vehicle topics.

Traffic Congestion

As one of the key projects presented by the City of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Mellon University developed a smart traffic signal system that uses sensors to identify transit and freight vehicles and allow them to move through the signals quicker. This implementation is expected to reduce idle time by 40% and travel time by 25%. The City of Denver and the City of Columbus have also proposed an intelligent transportation system concept for increasing the efficiency of traffic.

Driving Safety

In addition to solving critical congestion problems, improving safety on the road is another key goal of the Smart City Challenge. For instance, the Austin, TX has installed road sensors to monitor the roads regionally, which allows officials to react right at the moment a car accident happens. The city then can control traffic lights to better flow the traffic around the accident. In addition, the City of Portland launched its Ubiquitous Mobility program, which puts road safety as the top priority. The sensors on the connected fleets enable road sharing safety with car, bicycles and pedestrians.

Autonomous Vehicle

Establishing a sustainable V2X environment for self-driving vehicles is another hot initiative proposed by candidates such as Kansas City and City of San Francisco. The government of Kansas City plans to test an autonomous shuttle between KCI airports and downtown; while San Francisco is working with UC Berkeley on research into the elimination of traffic fatalities and carbon footprints through connected autonomous vehicles.

For more details on how these cities picture the blueprint for a better future, check here for the summary of the Smart City Challenge. You can also find the all pitches from the 7 finalists here.

Top 7 connected navigation & smart mobility news – 2016/07


TomTom City provides live traffic information in 50 cities worldwide.

At the end of each month, we handpick and summarize 7 most critical and exciting stories in the industry. Also check the hyperlink to the original article to read more, enjoy!

  • All Ford 2017 models will equip with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, running on SYNC 3 platform.
  • TomTom expands the coverage of its live traffic information portal – TomTom City to an additional 25 cities. Currently serve in 50 cities including San Francisco, Austin, Toronto, Singapore and Paris.
  • HERE rebranded its mobile app as HERE WeGo, adding few features including booking a car from Car2go service and taxi fare information.

3 benefits for getting your fleets ELD compliant now


Carriers and drivers are required to be ELD compliant no later than December, 2017

On December, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) completed its final version of the Electric Logging Device Rule and issued ELD Mandate ruling (see federal register).  The new rule expects to affect 3 million vehicles and relevant stakeholders such as fleet service providers, fleet operators and truck drivers.

What is ELD?  According to FMCSA, an ELD, or Electronic Logging Device, “synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automatically record driving time, for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording.” In short, the ELD Rule requires drivers and carriers to transit current process of records of duty status (RODS) to an automated and active electronic tracking system to simplify the logging on process and eliminate frauds.

The FMCSA estimates the annual adoption and installation cost including equipment, inspection and driver training will be $975 million for the entire industry. Industry professionals worry that the ELD Mandate requires a huge amount of capital investment on the operating system, which will hurt the profitability of fleet operators and individual truck drivers. However, it does bring up long-term benefits while reducing the operational risks going forward.

Although there’s still 18 months until the deadline (11/18/2017), getting your fleets ELD compliant will bring immediate benefits:


The first and foremost benefit is to align with government regulation. According to FMCSA, the following carriers and drivers will be required to install ELD compliance system:

  • Trucks weighing > 10,000 lbs involved in interstate commerce
  • Buses designed to transport 16+ people, or 9 people with direct payment to drivers
  • Vehicles used to haul hazardous materials in a quantity that requires a placard

And below is the deadline for the transition:

  • Carriers and drivers who are using paper logs or logging software must transition to ELDs no later than December 18, 2017.
  • Carriers and drivers who use AOBRDS prior to the compliance date must transition to ELDs no later than December 16, 2019.

You can find more details of the timeline in this Implementation Phase Compliance Table.

Last minute changes always increase business risks, so why not convert to ELD now?

Driving Safety

Safety should be always the priority for both drivers and passengers. The driving force behind the regulation is to improve fleet and truck driver safety. FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro once said, “By implementing Electronic Logging Devices, we will advance our mission to increase safety and prevent fatigued drivers from getting behind the wheel.” According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, road accidents caused by fatigued truck drivers results in 20 fatalities and 434 injuries each year. By implementing the ELD Mandate, road accident mitigation could lead to the annual safety benefit of $394.8 million.

Simplify the operation process

The ELD Mandate also makes things easier. According to FMCSA, ELDs hugely simplify the complicated old ROD’s process:

  • ELDs make it easier, simpler, and quicker to keep driver logs.
  • ELDs limit mistakes and reduce form and manner errors.
  • ELDs provide information to drivers and motor carriers so that drivers can better manage fatigue and schedule issues.
  • ELDs correctly record location and accurate information to easily track duty status.
  • ELDs are good management tools and office assets to improve productivity and enhance compliance.
  • With ELDs there is less paperwork and driver logs are orderly, clear, and accurate.

Check with your suppliers to see if they provide ELD compliant HOS services. For more information, you can also check the ELD Checklist for Carriers and ELD Checklist for Drivers.

How to Solve Your Biggest Off-Roading Safety Problems


Pictured above: the Magellan TRX Jeep in Moab, UT, during Easter Jeep Safari 2016.

While fun and adventure draw many people into off-roading, safety concerns can do just the opposite -scare newcomers and even 4WD pros away. In his article “Top 10 Fears of New 4WD Owners”, master tread trainer and 4×4 coach Tom Severin lists the common fears of newbie off-roaders:

  1. Damaging a new vehicle
  2. Rolling over
  3. Being stuck forever
  4. Breaking down
  5. Not knowing where to go and not knowing other drivers
  6. Breaking a bead
  7. Embarrassing yourself in front of others
  8. Lacking skill & knowledge
  9. Going off camber
  10. Lacking immediate emergency services

But with careful planning, proper preparation, and the right attitude, you can control and even eliminate these risks yourself. For example, before you head out to an off-roading adventure, research the different routes or route attributes in the area you’re planning to visit. Learn what equipment and gear you’ll need for your adventure  from other off-roaders on one of many OHV forums, including:

The article “An introduction to off-roading” from The Art of Manliness lists the essentials for any ORV trip:

  • Full tank of gas
  • Tow rope
  • Spare tires and changing tools
  • Portable air compressor
  • Navigational aids
  • First aid kit
  • Mobile phone

Driving Online and Tread Lightly! are great resources for ORV tips.  Then, when you’re ready for a complete off-road navigation solution for your next off-roading trip, look no further than the award-winning Magellan eXplorist TRX7 – it offers easy-to-use trip planning tools, a comprehensive trail database, and the ability to record and save your adventures. Magellan GPS has spent years designing this navigator for off-roaders of all kinds, so check it out today and see how it can add excitement and enhance safety for even the most thrilling off-road adventures.

Be adventurous, be safe, and above all, have fun!

Top 7 Connected navigation & Smart mobility news – 2016/06


INRIX helps Mercedes-Benz drivers to find cheap off-street parking lots

At the end of each month, we handpick and summarize 7 most critical and exciting stories in the industry. Also check the hyperlink to the original article to read more, enjoy!

  • Apple is opening Siri to developers, interacting with 3rd party apps. Apple also announced the updates on Apple maps, allowing users to search stops on the route, and move the view around during navigation. The new features will apply to Apple CarPlay through iOS 10.
  • Ford launched, accelerating the partnerships with Auto OEMs and app developers on SmartDeviceLink platform