Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Softly, softly...

A research report by Berg Insight - a noted "business intelligence" consultant to the telecom industry - tells us that, by 2009, all 15 million cars sold in Europe could have "telematics" – by which is meant a satellite navigation device and a mobile communication unit.

Navigation equipment, says the report, will drive growth in the premium car segment and – wait for it - EU safety regulations could open the volume market for embedded telematics solutions after 2009. By that year, says Berg, the EU commission has proposed that all new cars sold in the EU should automatically notify an emergency centre with an exact location in case of an accident.

If the proposal is realised, it adds, all 15 million cars sold in the EU annually will have to be equipped with telematics unit consisting of GPS satellite navigation device and a mobile communication unit,

From where Berg Insight obtained this information is questionable, as there are no firm proposals from the commission that cars should be fitted with "telematics".

The idea stems from the White Paper on Road Safety COM(2003) 311 final published on 2 June 2003 which suggested, tentatively that cars could be fitted with "accident alert system for the automatic transmission of essential information to the nearest emergency service unit".

There is no obvious connection between Berg Insight and the commission but what we are seeing is an insidious form of EU propaganda, paving the way for a major commission initiative – wittingly or unwittingly – making it appear to be inevitable (and unquestioned).

But of course, as we pointed out in an earlier posting, the real agenda is an EU-wide road charging system, based on the EU's Galileo satellite system. But how typical that the EU, through its useful idiots, is making the case on safety grounds, getting universal acceptance of equipment in cars which, latterly, will be used for road charging.

Softly, softly, catchee money. Mother Europe will look after you and summon help if you have an accident. Only later will we be presented with the bill.

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