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RAC to launch a smart driving device

  Tuesday, 30 April 2013

A new range of software apps, linked to a device plugged directly into your car’s computer, are being developed, hoping to make drivers’ lives a little easier.

The RAC has announced plans to begin selling the Advance device, which utilises applications that monitor data such as speed, fuel efficiency, airbags, lights and brakes.

The RAC has already installed the tiny device, which will work in all cars built in Europe since 2001, in 1,700 patrol vehicles, and plans to offer them to consumers later this year.

RAC commercial director, Kerry Michael, said:

“We would be able to remotely monitor the car so that if you’ve left your lights on, we’d be able to send you an alert to warn you.”

The system is similar to Automatic Link, an American version of the technology which sends driver information directly to your smartphone.  The system is much like an iPhone for driving, providing access to a higher level of data and communications on the move.

The system will automatically call for emergency services in the event of a crash, by detecting rapid deceleration and the deployment of your airbag.

Users may also be able to add a marker on their smartphone’s map to record where they have parked their vehicle.

For RAC members, the box will communicate information with service staff, allowing vehicle faults to be diagnosed quickly in the event of a breakdown.

British-based Masternaut already offer similar systems to measure the performance of fleet vehicles. The RAC’s box, now comparatively cheaper to produce and easier to install, will allow the technology to reach the wider consumer market, and no doubt be offered by other manufacturers.

Consumers using such a device could find their fuel bills falling dramatically - the RAC predicts the average driver could save up to £620 a year by driving more efficiently. The data could also be used to help police and insurance companies generate evidence, by assessing the speed of a vehicle prior to a crash.

Although the RAC is yet to announce a launch date for Advance, it is likely to be coming to a road near you soon. However, devices like Advance may not work on your car unless you have a relatively new model; you may need to trade-in your old vehicle for something new. 

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