An anti-traffic system designed to reduce frustration and shorten journey time was unveiled by Volvo at the British International Motor Show in Birmingham's NEC yesterday . Volvo's Road and Traffic Information System (RTI) receives real-time traffic information from the new Europe-wide RDS-TMC (Radio Data System and Traffic Message Channel) service and can alert drivers to traffic problems across the country.
The RTI uses a navigation unit that pinpoints the position of a car to an accuracy of around 10 metres. Once a route has been entered into the RTI an on-board antenna collects information from any of 24 GPS (Global Positioning System) satellites orbiting the Earth. Each satellite transmits timed information about its position above the Earth which is then processed by RTI and compared with data from the car, including speed and direction of travel. Once a destination has been entered into the system, Volvo claims it can work out the best route available and give instructions.
The RDS-TMC service uses radio waves to transmit travel information and is being used successfully in France, Germany and Sweden. Peter Skilton, head of electronics at the RAC believes that "by the year 2000, a lot of car companies will have route guidance systems in place as well as diagnostic fault codes allowing cars to alert drivers to mechanical problems".