Global Positioning Technology Moves to the Next Level with Real Time Traffic Information Technology

With automakers increasingly offering onboard navigation systems as standard equipment, California-based,  iSuppli Corporation sees real-time traffic information delivery as the next logical, and lucrative, step.

Real-time traffic services combine global positioning technologies with predictive modeling to provide drivers with information about current and predicted traffic conditions based on historical trends. The technology is capable of projecting traffic delays and recommending alternative routes to alleviate congestion and improve traffic flow.

A market intelligence company offering a broad range of services and products, ISuppli Corporation predicts that the real-time traffic information capability will become the differentiator between onboard and handheld navigation systems within the next few years.

iSuppli Corporation’s vice president of automotive research, Phil Magney, claims that, ‘Real-time traffic information will be a must-have feature in automotive navigation systems,’ and expects service subscriptions world-wide to generate annual revenues of $4.7 billion by 2014. Last year the total global market volume was $268 million.

"In an automotive electronics market characterized by commoditization and rapidly declining price points,’ Magney says, ‘traffic data represents critical and time-sensitive information that can make the difference between a nice-to-have and must-have navigation device."

The window of opportunity for manufacturer and service provider, however, is expected to be extremely narrow and Magney expects that within a few years the major player will be well established.

The most prevalent technology in use today, representing about 83% of the total market, involves one-way FM communication and employs the aforementioned predictive modeling techniques. 

The newest technology being utilized by providers of real-time traffic information systems is called probe car data collection. This technology involves periodic transmissions of a vehicle’s position and speed to a central server for analysis and dissemination. This technology can be implemented using both portable and telematics systems equipped with two-way connectivity. Probe car traffic collection represents a quantum leap in the field due to its real-time collection model and its capability of using customer’s existing navigation devises. The technology, first originated in Japan, has been adopted in Europe and the U.S.

The proliferation of probe car is expected to experience an 86% compounded annual growth rate through 2014 and reach 128 million users according to a recent iSuppli study.

According to Magney, ‘In the future, customers will increasingly expect their device to tell them more than how to get from point A to point B.’

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