The tragic events of April 15th in Boston were seen around the world, as was the dramatic search for the suspected bombers in the following days. One of the US police’s key tools in this search was a telematics device that was built into a car that the suspects “car-jacked” A Mercedes Benz M-Class car at around midnight on April 18th.
Now here at Tiger.co.uk HQ we’re often banging the drum for the new-breed telematics car insurance
policies that are becoming more and more prevalent in the UK. One aspect of the technology behind these is that the information sent from cars can be used for more than just the analysis of driving behaviour for car insurance rating.
If, for example, a car fitted with a telematics device is involved in a serious accident, the extreme deceleration that results can trigger an alert to the emergency services, providing accident location and likely severity. Faster responses to serious accidents will save lives.
And telematics boxes can also be a weapon in the war against vehicle theft, acting as a tracking device that allows stolen cars to be recovered.
This brings us back to Boston.
The Mercedes that was stolen apparently had an in-built GPS system called “mbrace2”. After the car was stolen, reports suggest that the police contacted Mercedes-Benz and asked them to track the vehicle using the system’s “stolen vehicle location assistance” function. On April 19th, one bombing suspect was killed in a shoot-out and another arrested.
The following day, the boss of Mercedes in the USA tweeted: “Just found out that our mbrace2technology in the stolen Mercedes helped locate the Boston terrorists!” Although no more details were forthcoming, it’s clear that that the technology in what is known these days as a “connected” car helped the police to some degree.
This story just illustrates how smart, “connected” cars are changing and will continue to change our lives. Without a doubt, cars and driving are changing, usually for the better. In this blog in the last year we’ve looked at Google’s self-driving car; the development of “smart roads” in Holland; and “dashboard dad” keys that limit vehicle performance.
What was once science fiction is rapidly becoming motoring fact. What do you think driving could look like in 2020 or 2025?