Automotive telematics in North America is steadily gaining ground, with 90 models currently offering telematics as either standard or optional equipment. Telematics Research Group (TRG) tracks, analyzes, and forecasts the market for automotive telematics and says that this is up from 67 models last year as four automakers introduce telematics to the North American Market for the first time. Telematics is the term used to describe two-way communication between a vehicle’s systems and a control centre. This can allow the vehicle functions to be monitored remotely and in some cases systems can be repaired without visiting a service centre. The most commonly recongnized telematics system in General Motors’ OnStar system, but many others are lining up for the market. This week, The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) opens in Detroit while the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) opens in Las Vegas. Each show will feature telematics although from two (sometimes opposing) perspectives. Auto makers control the interface to embedded vehicle functions while consumer electronics makers dictate the mobile devices consumers carry with them. A key challenge for the telematics industry is getting the two parties to work together, accoring to TRG. According to TRG’s data, 19 brands of cars and light trucks sold in North America now offer telematics. “On many vehicles, particularly luxury cars and SUVs, telematics is becoming standard equipment or comes bundled with luxury trim packages where a premium is placed on comfort, convenience, and safety,” says Phil Magney, principal analyst with TRG “In the North American market nearly half the passenger vehicles in the market can now be ordered with some type of telematics hardware. And last year more than 25% of all GM vehicles sold in North America were delivered with OnStar,” adds Magney.