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ITIS to provide BMW with new traffic information system using anonymous cellular data

ITIS has announced that the BMW Group will be the first car-maker to use its new PrecisionTraffic real-time traffic information system as part of BMW’s pan-European traffic service. ITIS will use its partnership with Telefonica O2 Germany, which will provide anonymous mobile location data from the O2 network, in order to generate high-quality speed and flow information across all roads in Germany. The contract with BMW was awarded to MILE Traffic and Travel GmbH, of which ITIS is a shareholder, along with Mediamobile (part of the TDF Group) and Infoblu (part of Atlantia/Autostrade Group), who are the leading traffic information providers respectively in the UK, France and Italy.

Standard navigation devices are already using the traffic message channel (TMC), which transmits traffic jam reports to them via FM frequencies. Until now, however, this information came from GPS, fixed sensors, police reports, or individuals who voluntarily reported on the traffic. The disadvantage of such sources is that they do not provide enough data to create the accurate traffic information service that German drivers require. The PrecisionTraffic system overcomes these limitations by using anonymous signaling data generated at the network level, with over 17 million probes being used in the new service. As a result, traffic congestion can be detected as it happens. Because the traffic information is transmitted in real-time, the best possible detour can be recommended to every driver. The new system will be available in all new BMW models starting in September.

Cellular data provides far greater coverage than any other data source, including GPS and fixed sensor data. More roads are covered with far higher accuracy and the information is available far quicker than any other source. As O2 considers the location information to be confidential customer data, the entire system was scrutinized and approved by Germany’s federal authorities for data protection. Continuous anonymization and encryption algorithms that change regularly make it impossible to draw inferences from individual customer information.

March 4, 2011

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