RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – IBM (NYSE: IBM) touts its “Smarter Planet” initiatives. Now it wants to build smarter cars.

The technology giant said Monday it is teaming with Hughes Telematics Inc. and a subsidiary of Daimler AG to develop new computing technology for motor vehicles.

The companies will work on telematics, a combination of communications and information technology that is expected to be standard in vehicles by 2015. It is used for a variety of functions, such as guiding emergency help in the case of an accident to helping drivers locate nearby hotels or restaurants.

"By 2011, 45 percent of all cars will provide interconnected services involving dozens of service providers ranging from insurance, to safety to navigation," IBM and Hughes Telematics said.

"In fact, the average automobile contains several millions of lines of code, which help to facilitate this. IBM has collaborated with Hughes Telematics, Inc. to address the growing complexity of designing and managing automotive systems by developing a software platform that quickly deliver telematics services to its customers."

Terms of the partnership, which includes Daimler Fleetboard GmbH, were not made public.

"As the use of software continues to serve as the basis for increased innovation and competitive advantage in the automobile industry, the traditional approach of developing software will not work for today’s modern vehicle manufacturers and their partners," said Daniel Sabbah, general manager for IBM’s Rational software group.

"Today, premium class vehicles are estimated to contain up to one gigabyte of on-board software,” he added. “Clearly, the companies that will succeed in the automobile industry will be those that develop a core competency in designing, delivering and managing software."

The partnership was announced at IBM’s annual in Orlando, Fla.

"Our key criterion was to develop a telematics architecture that supported not only today’s connected vehicle services, but also tomorrow’s future developed services," said Keith Kammer, vice president of operations of Hughes Telematics, in a statement. "The depth of IBM’s software, services and telematics expertise has accelerated our implementation and positioned us as an industry technology leader."

Germany-based Daimler Fleetboard GmbH, also a provider of online telematics solutions and services for vehicles, uses IBM Rational technology to deliver software updates and information to vehicles remotely so they don’t have to be removed from service.

"By partnering with IBM, Daimler Fleetboard has not only been able to use this development environment to design our own telematics solutions in-house, we’ve also been able to run them on the infrastructure we created with IBM software,” said Christian Ballarin of Daimler FleetBoard. “This has resulted in us dramatically reducing our own operating costs, while also giving our clients the ability to more efficiently manager their vehicle fleets."


IBM employs some 10,000 people at its campus in RTP.

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