A new telematics service being offered to customers in Japan is about to change the relationship between the driver, the car, and the mobile phone. Nissan has joined forces with NTT DoCoMo Inc., Japan’s largest cell phone provider, to offer ‘i-mode’ information services delivered to drivers’ mobile phones using Nissan’s CARWINGS telematics system. Thanks to a new system developed by the two companies, information can now also be transferred wirelessly between navigation system and cell phone using Bluetooth technology.
Nissan’s existing CARWINGS system offers a combination of services including navigation, real-time traffic information, 24-hour live operator, hands-free phone, and provides useful information on the location of hotels, restaurants, garages and car parks.
Customers of new Nissan models, beginning with the Tiida compact hatchback and later the Fuga sports saloon, will be able to access a new service called ‘Okkuto-Keitai’. This allows customers to receive ‘i-mode’ information services from NTT DoCoMo delivered directly to their cell phones, based on location or destination information from the car navigation system. Initially, the service will provide digital mobile maps from ZENRIN Data Com and details on over 40,000 restaurants from Gourmet Navigator Inc. In the future, Nissan and NTT DoCoMo plan to offer an increased number of i-mode content services.
Customers can request the new i-mode services by simply pressing the appropriate buttons on the CARWINGS console or by calling the 24-hour CARWINGS operator. In less than a minute, an e-mail with a URL link to the requested i-mode information is transferred directly to the driver’s mobile phone.
Using a Bluetooth-compatible navigation system and cellular phone, the two companies have developed an ‘alternate mode switchover’ system to automatically switch from voice to data communications and vice versa. In other words, the driver can engage in hands-free phone conversations, as well as using all other CARWINGS services wirelessly, without having to press a single button on the cell phone.
Could this ever come to Europe? Well maybe…Published 22 October 2004