IBM said it has signed a four-year, $125 million deal to build an automobile-monitoring system and install a device in cars to track drivers in the United Arab Emirates, making it the largest telematics deal in history.
The UAE's CERT Telematics, a unit of the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training in Dubai, signed the deal to help improve road safety throughout the country, according to IBM spokesman Cary Ziter. "The project started with a social problem. They have a population of 3 million and 2 million have drivers' licenses. Their population has boomed and their roads have become clogged," Ziter says.
CERT Telematics has committed to buy at least 100,000 PDA-like units, which will be installed within automobile carriages, Ziter says. The telematics device will use multiple microprocessors based on IBM's Power Architecture, and will have the capability to monitor the speed of the vehicle and send out a warning if the car surpasses the posted speed limit. IBM engineers will design the infrastructure for the traffic-tracking system. Wireless access points, which will monitor the devices, will be installed on street lights and other places along the roadway.
The telematic device will include several wireless technologies, including GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) cellular capabilities and General Packet Radio Service. Bluetooth and an optional driver-identification feature using RFID also will be on the device, as will IBM's speech software, Via Voice.
Ziter says the devices will not only be used to track the speed of drivers, but could also be used to inform drivers when they're approaching a car accident or nasty weather, such as a sandstorm.