United Arab Emirates Taps IBM To Improve Road Safety

On Demand Agreement Will Help Save Lives, Better Manage Traffic Flow

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DUBAI - 15 Apr 2005: ...A leading technology and research organization of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced today it has awarded IBM an on demand contract worth up to $125 million (US) over four years to help transform the country's traffic system.

CERT Telematics, part of the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training, located in Dubai, said the contract with IBM will help reduce highway accidents among the UAE's two million automobile drivers.

Under the terms of the on demand contract, IBM Engineering & Technology Services will build a technology infrastructure featuring a state-of the art, real-time telematics device that will give the UAE the ability to collect data, improve road safety, better manage traffic and prevent accidents.

CERT Telematics expects to roll out tens of thousands of these devices, which will be installed in vehicles of all types.

According to UAE government traffic studies, one person is injured every two hours, and one person dies approximately every 15 hours on UAE roads.

 "This nationwide project has few parallels anywhere in the world," said Dr. Tayeb Kamali, CERT's Chief Executive Officer.  "With this initiative, UAE takes the lead in adopting cutting-edge telematics technologies to enhance and enrich mobility for one and all. This innovative project for IBM and CERT will define and refine the kind of telematics devices that auto owners all over the world will eventually be using in one form or the other."

Using multiple microprocessors based on IBM's Power Architecture, the telematics device, attached to the automobile's carriage, monitors the speed of the moving vehicle and compares it to the defined speed limit on each street.  If the car exceeds the limit, the device could send out a warning message to the driver.

The new device will receive and store vehicle data and will integrate a number of embedded technologies, including Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) functionality, Global Positioning Systems (GPSs), Bluetooth and an optional driver identification feature via RFID.  It also will be equipped with IBM's award-winning speech software, Via Voice, and components of IBM WebSphere.

Pat Toole, general manager, IBM Engineering & Technology Services, said prototype design and customization of the device currently is underway; field testing is expected to take place early next year; the device also would be introduced in volume next year.

"This is an unprecedented agreement for the UAE.  It amounts to a close and cooperative relationship fostering innovation and changing processes that can improve the quality of life for everyone in the UAE.  And in the long run, it would help CERT attract a number of other investors to the region, since it contributes to a knowledge economy," Toole said.