UK operator group Vodafone has unveiled a new connected vehicle platform, which is designed to enable real-time info sharing between drivers and transport authorities.
Safer Transport for Europe Platform (STEP) is expected to emerge later this year under the Vodafone Automotive brand, and is supposed to work across vehicles and devices and be compatible with all third party apps.
Initially STEP will be able to deliver safety messages and updates from road operators on lane closures, speed restrictions and traffic incidents. Vodafone reckons is could also enable ‘modelling of the road network in real-time using secure, anonymised, and aggregated vehicle position data’ – which sounds like something more for data analysts to scratch their chins over than drivers trying to battle their way up the M1.
Apparently the ultimate ambition is to include things like detection warnings for vulnerable road users, fleet management, stolen vehicle tracking and usage-based insurance.
“Improving road safety is still a major challenge for Europe,” said Joakim Reiter, Chief External and Corporate Affairs Officer at Vodafone. “We believe that open platforms for faster, more efficient data sharing can play a significant role in helping prevent the unnecessary fatalities and injuries happening on our roads each year.”
Vinod Kumar, CEO, Vodafone Business added: “This scaled platform enables the delivery of vital safety information to all road users, no matter what app or system they rely on. STEP encourages the collaboration needed between transport authorities, app developers and the automotive industry to unlock the full value of data and connectivity in helping make Europe’s roads safer.”
The assertion is that there is a problem of ‘data fragmentation and information silos’ which means transport authorities can’t go much beyond delivering safety updates through motorway gantries or matrix signs and so on, or via a’ limited number of technologies’ developed by independent manufacturers.
Vodafone says STEP makes the whole process of sharing travel info more collaborative and open by getting governments and authorities, manufactures, mobility service providers and MNOs all on one platform. Whether that includes other operators other than Vodafone remains to be seen.