While the service won't be anywhere near as comprehensive or practical as the navigation built-in to your satnav (which lets you reroute to avoid congestion), this service will instead act more like the traffic updates you get from the radio already, except in text form on new DAB+ radios.
It won't cost anything to the user, so long as they have one of these new radio receivers in their car. And while most people aren't going to head to the local auto shop and buy a new radio for their car, within a few years pretty much all the new cars will come standard with these new radios, meaning traffic information will be readily available for people who own shiny new cars.
Actually, even though this is a pretty cool service for digital radio (which is almost certainly going to struggle to gain traction here), it'd still be cheaper to just buy a traffic-enabled satnav...
Intelematics to give car radio a traffic overhaul
New digital radio service previewed at Gold Coast radio conference tomorrow
Thursday, October 9 2008 - Your car radio soon could know whether you will be late for work before you even head out the door, following the test of a new digital radio service by Intelematics Australia.
Intelematics has begun testing a new free-to-air service which would allow radio stations to deliver traffic flow information snapshots directly to motorists' digital radios, including time taken to travel along motorways and major arterial roads.
The service will be demonstrated for the first time in Australia at the 2008 National Radio Conference on the Gold Coast tomorrow.
Intelematics, which already provides the SUNA real-time traffic service for portable GPS navigation devices, expects to launch the service in Australia next year. To receive the service, motorists would just need a digital receiver or device with a Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB+) chip and tune in to a supporting radio station.
The digital radio service allows motorists to receive short text-based traffic messages or images which are broadcast in conjunction with their regular radio station programs. Intelematics provides the information by accessing raw traffic flow data from a network of sensors embedded in the road to deliver real travel time information along major city arterials.
Adam Game, Chief Executive Officer, Intelematics said the flexibility of digital radio meant the service could be used a wide variety of ways.
"A radio station broadcasting commentary for a football final could send through information on traffic conditions around the ground for those travelling to the game," Mr Game said.
"Other potential applications include daily travel time information on popular roads or alerts when significant accidents or other incidents occur."
The demonstration at the conference will include the transmission of traffic data and presentation on a digital radio. Intelematics is hoping to undertake on-road testing during the coming months.
The Australian commercial radio industry is set to launch digital broadcasting in five capital cities - Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth in May 2009
Joan Warner, Chief Executive Officer, Commercial Radio Australia said the Intelematics service was a good example of the innovation that could be provided free to air by digital radio.
"Intelematics is developing a service that will have real benefit to radio audiences and highlight the capability of digital radio to deliver unique and innovative information streams at no cost to the listener," Ms Warner said.
"The adoption of DAB+, a superior new technology that will enable radio stations to multichannel as well as broadcast a variety of multimedia and interactive programming, further positions Australia as a leader in digital radio broadcasting."