TomTom emphasizes road safety with its new PND range

TomTom emphasizes road safety with its new PND range
TomTom today announced that the new TomTom GO range (TomTom GO 520 and 720) includes unique safety features, helping drivers in case of trouble and emergencies. Most of these features are only available in Europe and Australia.

“Safety is a key priority for TomTom and we are leading the industry in this area,” said Harold Goddijn, TomTom’s chief executive officer. “Research proves that our products have a significant positive effect on driving and traffic safety. We are focused on continuing to increase driver safety and are proud to enhance this further with the additional features in the new TomTom GO. As the market leader we believe it is our responsibility to continue to keep safety top of mind in all our product innovations.”

With around 15 million Portable Navigation Devices (PND) in use today in Europe there are growing concerns among EU governments about how such devices are used (see a related article here). As a market leader TomTom understands that convincing governments and public opinions about the safety of PNDs is key to its success. This new set of features illustrates this strategy.

Help me button in the main menu
Help me button in the main menu
Help Me button
The introduction of a ‘Help Me’ menu, accessed from the main menu of the new TomTom GO range, gives users direct links to helpful locations, phone numbers, roadside assistance, and other useful information such as medical information, to help in the case of a wide range of difficulties.

Phone for Help, Drive to Help and Walk to Help
The TomTom GO 520 and 720 both feature a full database of important locations and phone numbers. These include emergency services, but also the nearest car repair shop, pharmacy or police station. The user can dial the number that is displayed while the screen will show where the driver is, both on a map, in text, and even satellite coordinates. Meanwhile, or instead, the user can plan a route to the location, either by car or by foot. Thanks to TomTom’s hands-free calling functionality, the device will also provide the phone number of the appropriate roadside assistance service if requested and will even dial it over a hands-free connection if it can establish a wireless Bluetooth connection to a mobile phone.
Thus, the user can solve his trouble by picking from a wide range of options, ranging from a walking route to the nearest petrol station to a driving route plus instant phone call to the nearest hospital.

In every TomTom GO 520 and 720, drivers can also find a list of first aid techniques supplied by the British Red Cross, including what to do in a road accident, how to resuscitate casualties, how to treat burns and scalds and what to do in case of choking.

Local travel information
TomTom has partnered with the Dutch Automobile Club, ANWB, to provide extensive local travel information on the GO 520 and 720. This includes country-specific traffic regulations, bank opening times, etc., providing the motorist with useful information for a journey abroad.

Emergency Roadside Assistance
TomTom’s ‘Help Me’ button will give direct access to the relevant roadside assistance service automobile club in the country. TomTom has partnered with the British AA, the Irish AA, the Dutch ANWB, the Italian ACI, the Luxembourgian ACL, the Portuguese ACP, the French ACTA, the German ADAC, the Finnish AL, the Danish FDM, the Swedish Motormännen, the Norwegian NAF, the Austrian ÖAMTC, the Spanish RACE, the Polish Starter, the Belgian SOS Touring, the Swiss TCS, and the Czech UAMK. Through Assist Australia TomTom provides access to NRMA, NT, RAA, RAC, RACQ, RACT and RACV - the major Automobile Clubs providing the roadside assistance in various parts in Australia.

Other software safety features
This new TomTom GO range integrates in its software a large set of additional safety features. For example, the software will warn the driver to take a driving break if he has been driving for over a certain amount of time; it will prompts him to slow down in pedestrian-dense areas (when approaching schools and places of worship) and remind him to point out on which side of the road he should drive (reminders to English drivers when traveling in right-driving countries, and vice versa).

A combination of text-to-speech and speech recognition technology allows to read aloud incoming SMS as well as to reroute in case of increasing traffic congestion on the route without touching or looking at the screen at any time.

Tuesday, June 5th 2007

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