Hughes Telematics is casting a wider net to catch customers, partnering with AAA Club Partners (ACP) to offer its In-Drive-connected services to the automobile club's 12 million drivers in 20 states.
In-Drive is a telematics service connecting the vehicle and driver to Hughes operators in the event of an emergency or accident. Devices plugged into the vehicle's On-Board Diagnostics port and mounted on the visor connect the driver and the vehicle to Hughes' team of operators, who are available to help drivers coordinate emergency response and detect when a vehicle has been in a crash.
AAA hasn't finalized its offerings or come up with pricing, but indicated it would like to offer members roadside assistance, incident response, emergency calling, diagnostics, and stolen vehicle location, said Kevin Link, senior vice president of marketing for Hughes Telematics. The automobile club may use different In-Drive device models, too.
As a point of reference, State Farm offers the In-Drive Connected package to its customers for $5.99 per month; it includes vehicle diagnostics, fuel economy and carbon footprint reports, driving risk assessment, and stolen vehicle location capability.
For a $11.99 per month, State Farm's Guardian program adds emergency roadside assistance, which allows customers to communicate with the operators. Hughes' operators can coordinate local emergency response services, and can automatically try to contact the driver if the system detects that the vehicle has been in an accident.
Hughes Telematics recently announced that it will offer this service to State Farm customers in Ohio, Illinois, Texas, Colorado, and California. AAA will offer In-Drive in 20 states sometime in the second quarter of 2012.
If you aren't a State Farm customer or AAA Club Partners (ACP) member, you can still buy a Mercedes-Benz, which includes Hughes Telematics' connected services.