– By Paul Oliver –
As 2020 draws to a close, select new Toyota models will start to come fitted with connected-car capabilities, following the announcement of a long-term partnership between Toyota Motor Corporation Australia (TMCA) and Australian technology company, Intelematics.
The Intelematics’ ASURE product suite will support Toyota’s Connected Safety and Security offering, including Automatic Collision Notification (ACN), SOS Emergency call (SOS) and Stolen Vehicle Tracking (SVT).
When triggered, this potentially life-saving technology is designed to automatically connect with a specialised triage contact centre where trained agents connect the vehicle occupants to the required emergency service fast – be it police, fire or ambulance.
Behind the scenes, Intelematics has implemented this product suite alongside in-car technology and a contact centre partner to deliver best of the breed, Australian-based services to select vehicles.
Toyota’s new Yaris Cross is the first model to be offered with this technology, employing a Data Communication Module (DCM) that is designed to automatically generate an SOS emergency call to the 24/7 Emergency Call Centre and relay the location of the vehicle in the event of a trigger, if an airbag deploys, or if an occupant presses the SOS (personal duress) button located above the overhead console in the vehicle.
The trained Call Centre personnel then have the ability to assess, triage, and facilitate an accurate and fast response from emergency services, potentially saving lives as a result.
Intelematics Australia’s Chief Operating Officer, Stephen Owens, says this plays a crucial role in ensuring a quick response from emergency services.
“We know that time is of the essence in an emergency situation. Now, vehicle occupants will have access to one of the best emergency assistance products on the market”, Mr Owens said.
“Intelematics has a heritage in providing highly valued services to the Australian Automobile industry, and being an integral part of this program continues that tradition. The Intelematics ASURE product suite has again proven its capability in supporting large scale connected vehicle programs in local and global markets.”
Toyota Australia’s Vice President Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley said the introduction of connected services is another way to reinforce commitment to the continual improvement of safety.
“Having the ability to further protect the wellbeing of our customers through the delivery of connected safety and security services with the assistance of Intelematics’ Call Centre solutions and services is a wonderful addition to our vehicle technology,” Mr Hanley said.
The Lexus IS Sedan is also in line to take on the technology. Over the next three years, Toyota will equip an estimated 300,000 vehicles with this potentially life-saving technology.
Intelematics (owned by the RACV) has decades of experience in deploying communication platforms for connected vehicle programs for vehicle manufacturers and the aftermarket.
They were the technology partner for the first manufacturer programs, Holden Assist and Toyota Link in the early 2000s. While in 2005, they helped Mitsubishi respond to an increase in theft of the highly sought-after Lancer Evo IXs. Intelematics could track, and if necessary, remotely immobilise these turbo-charged sports sedans with Mitsubishi Diamond Trac.
When the priorities of vehicle manufacturers moved towards driver information systems, they responded by transmitting real-time traffic information for Australia and New Zealand, to inbuilt vehicle satellite navigation systems with their SUNA traffic channel product.
Today, Intelematics supports 75% of the Australian vehicle market with real-time traffic information.
Duty of Care
TMCA vehicles are already widely known for their quality but also the advanced level of safety technology featured therein, something which will be even more notable with the support of Intelematics’ ASURE.
As fleet customers wrestle with the extent of their ‘Duty Of Care’ obligations under the WHS Act, the emergence of this type of technology and its deployment by manufacturers such as Toyota should be welcomed.
As a fleet management consultant, I feel this partnership points to a convergance between manufacturer provided technology and the current suite of In-Vehicle Management Systems (IVMS) offered in the market.
Paul Oliver is the Director and Principal Consultant of Fleet Advisory.