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U‑blox and ERM launch vehicle-tracking device with built-in Wi‑Fi hotspot

November 9, 2018  - By
Photo: ERM/u-blox

Photo: ERM/u-blox

U‑blox has released the StarLink TrackerWi‑Fi, an advanced vehicle-tracking device produced by ERM Advanced Telematics, a provider of device-based telematics solutions.

The device combines u-blox GNSS, 4G and Wi-Fi technology, eliminating the need to equip vehicles with a separate mobile Wi‑Fi hotspot.

According to the companies, the StartLink TrackerWi‑Fi is suitable for applications for connected cars, telematics, vehicle diagnostics, fleet management, vehicle security, usage-based insurance, and rental and leasing service companies.

The internet of things (IoT) and connected-car initiatives are providing rental car companies and transportation and logistics firms with tools to track vehicles, preemptively detect and diagnose disturbances from a distance, and monitor the behavior of their drivers in real time. ERM has more than 1.8 million vehicle fleet-tracking devices deployed on roads world-wide.

As onboard Wi‑Fi becomes increasingly widespread, many companies are fitting vehicles with Wi‑Fi hotspots to offer drivers and passengers internet access. With its integrated Wi‑Fi hotspot, ERM’s StarLink TrackerWi‑Fi lets users tap into the cellular 4G connectivity to transfer telematics data to the fleet manager. This makes it possible to send real-time telematics data to the driver’s smart device or onboard infotainment system, and it also reduces the number of SIM cards needed from one per device to one per vehicle.

Sourcing the GNSS tracking, cellular 4G LTE, and Wi‑Fi technology from u-blox played a key role in achieving the device’s fast time to market. By using u‑blox’s pre-tested positioning and communications modules with integrated software, the manufacturer was able to cut the time needed for production and development by several months.

“We saw an opportunity to provide more values to our customers by adding Wi‑Fi hot spot functionality to our StarLink Tracker, our leading telematics product, but knew that we had to be quick to stay ahead of the game,” said Kfir Lavi, senior vice president of ERM Advanced Telematics.

“Our partners are always at the top of our priorities, and we are working to adapt our offerings to the market demands and the changing needs of their customers. Working with u‑blox as the provider of the positioning and wireless communication technology helped us move from concept to commercialization in under six months and provide our partners with an advanced product in a short time,” Lavi said.

“This successful collaboration demonstrates that we have evolved from a provider of individual technologies, namely GNSS positioning, cellular 4G connectivity, or short range radio communication, to a provider of solutions that bundle these technologies,” said Thomas Seiler, CEO of u-blox. “We are seeing increased demand for such bundled solutions and are convinced that the close integration of our technology portfolio offers our customers the unique ability to jump-start even challenging projects on extremely short notice.”