Pioneer Expands Vehicle Connectivity with Introduction of rDrive

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 09 Jan 2019

Representational image courtesy - Pioneer

Pioneer Electronics (USA) today introduced rDrive, a connected services solution designed to elevate the experience of vehicle ownership and driving by making connectivity, safety, Wi-Fi and location-based services possible for most passenger vehicles on the road in the US. Combining a cloud-based services platform, a smartphone application and a vehicle-installed LTE wireless network connection, rDrive provides millions of consumers a path to upgrade their existing vehicles to include many of the connectivity features that until now were primarily obtained by purchasing a new vehicle.

rDrive is the result of a partnership with CalAmp, an established leader in mobile and automotive technology solutions and owner of the LoJack brand, signaling Pioneer’s entrance into consumer vehicle telematics. With CalAmp’s telematics, mobile connectivity, near real-time analytics, and data in motion expertise, rDrive provides valuable solutions to suit a variety of consumer needs such as teen/senior driver monitoring, vehicle health diagnostic alerts, and business/personal drive logging. rDrive includes a suite of connected services including LoJack Stolen Vehicle Location Assist, TripWire Early Warning, CrashBoxx crash detection with incident reporting, vehicle arrival/departure notifications, LoJack Command Center live agent support for emergency services, and more.

“rDrive continues our initiative to provide consumers the ability to upgrade their existing vehicles with the latest driver assistance and infotainment technologies. The CalAmp partnership and the exceptional quality of their vehicle safety and security solutions is what distinguishes rDrive from similar products,” said Ted Cardenas, vice president of marketing for Pioneer Electronics (USA). “Additionally, the ability to add LoJack Stolen Vehicle Location Assist, available for the first time through aftermarket retailers, to practically any car is an exciting and valuable benefit for the end consumer.”

rDrive will initially consist of the rDrive mobile application (available for both iPhone and Android devices) and a small network-connected device that plugs into the vehicle’s Onboard Diagnostics (OBD-II) port, found in the majority of automotive makes and models sold in the United States beginning in 1996. The device can be plugged directly into the vehicle’s OBD-II port or connected via an extension cable (sold separately) and installed securely inside the vehicle’s dash. Installation of the device and activation of rDrive services by an authorised Pioneer dealer is apparently recommended.

Two rDrive enabled devices, with and without in-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot capability, will be available. Wi-Fi hotspot functionality provides internet connectivity for passengers using entertainment and productivity devices like tablets and game systems. In-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot functionality requires a compatible AT&T pre-paid or monthly wireless service connection. Pioneer claims that existing AT&T customers may be able to add the device to their existing wireless services plan.

Michael Burdiek, president and CEO of CalAmp said, “With Pioneer’s rDrive, we’re excited to bring LoJack to millions of people who want access to the safety and security services we offer.”

Overview of rDrive features:

Tracking / Location Services

  • Vehicle Location Tracking
  • Multi-Vehicle In-App Tracking
  • Find My Vehicle
  • Trip History including miles driven and mapped route
  • Business / Personal Mileage tagging
  • Business Mile Reporting
  • Selectable Map Detail including type and points of interest (POI) display

Driver Monitoring

  • Virtual Boundaries, Arrival and Departure Notifications
  • CrashBoxx collision detail notifications including location and impact level
  • Configurable Speed Alert notifications

Vehicle Health

  • Car Health Status

LoJack Safety & Security

  • LoJack Stolen Vehicle Location Assist
  • Tripwire Early Warning / Theft Notification
  • 24/7 LoJack Command Center live agent support
    • Collision-triggered automatic live agent call attempt
    • Emergency services dispatch and deployment

Entertainment (target availability June 2019)

  • In-vehicle Wi-Fi hotspot (requires a compatible AT&T pre-paid or monthly wireless service connection)

The Pioneer rDrive model with telematics services is planned for a US release in Spring 2019 with a suggested price of $330 (Rs 23,279). The Pioneer rDrive model that adds Wi-Fi hotspot capability is planned for a US release in Summer 2019 with a suggested price of $380 (Rs 26,799). Both units will be sold at authorised Pioneer rDrive retailers in the United States.

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