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AA launches joint venture in a move towards connected cars

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The AA today looked towards a future in which internet-connected cars will be able to signal when they are likely to break down and require roadside assistance as it launched a joint venture to deliver the technology behind that vision.

The UK breakdown service is working through joint venture Intelematics Europe to develop connected car software for the services and products that roadside assistance clubs provide.

This envisages a small device embedded in vehicles that would use the internet to notify the AA and vehicle users about the condition of the vehicle and how it was driven.

The AA’s partners include fellow motoring clubs in the Netherlands and Austria, as well as Intelematics, a subsidiary of the Australian auto clubs which has developed similar solutions in Australia and the US.

“This is a powerful partnership – it gives us access to existing solutions which are tried, tested and widely adopted; it gives us reach across international manufacturers at a global level; and it gives us the ability both to roll out existing solutions fast and develop ever more sophisticated solutions in time,” said Bob Mackenzie, executive chairman of the AA.

“The AA is embracing connected-car technology so that our members will benefit directly through advancements in safety and security, and information to help reduce driving costs. Connectivity will improve both timing and diagnostics of the AA’s roadside assistance services and enable us to increase efficiency. We also value the potential for greater integration with our manufacturer partners and, combined with what we are doing with fleets through Trakm8, connected-car capability will enhance our already strong position across our business partnerships. Better information also provides the potential for wider adoption of telematics for insurance by the AA.

“This international telematics platform, combined with our extensive relationships with manufacturers and strong relationships with our international partners, strengthens our ability to innovate and take the AA to the next level of digital capability.”

Our view: While this isn’t strictly a story about retailers, we are very interested to see what the Internet of Things will mean for retail. We’ve previously looked at what it might mean for manufacturing brands such as Miele, but this news gives us a useful insight into how other customer-focused businesses are now looking ahead and developing the technology that will be required. The AA has identified how its customers will benefit and what it needs in order to get to that point. We’ll be still more interested in time to hear what retailers are doing for their part.

Image: Tomasz Zajda,

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