<p><strong><em>Image courtesy of Verizon.</em></strong></p>

Verizon this year will begin providing a new connected-vehicle service aimed at modernizing traditional roadside assistance.

Verizon Vehicle, set to debut commercially in the spring, will include diagnostic technology, push-button live assistance, and roadside assistance using GPS to hasten the tow truck’s arrival. The service will also connect drivers with live A.S.E.-certified mechanics to diagnose potential problems and offer solutions.

Verizon unveiled plans for the new service at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

 There are more than 200 million vehicles in the U.S. without connected capabilities, noted Erik Goldman, president of Verizon Telematics. Verizon Vehicle is an aftermarket solution that fosters “a safer, smarter and more economical way to drive and maintain a vehicle,” he said.

Compatible with nearly every vehicle made and sold in the U.S. since 1996 – more than 9,000 makes and models – Verizon Vehicle will launch as a subscription-based service. It will be available to drivers regardless of the wireless service provider they use for their mobile devices. Members also receive travel discounts. 

The subscription-based service operates through an OBD reader easily installed in the under-dash diagnostic port, a Bluetooth-enabled speaker attached to the visor and a complementary smartphone app. Members can choose to use the app or set up the service to contact them -- by phone, text, push notification or email -- if a potential issue is detected with their vehicle.

The speaker offers one-button push connection to the member care group, the mechanics hotline and roadside assistance. A second button is for SOS emergency situations.

The subscription-based service will include:

  • GPS-Directed Pinpoint Roadside Assistance for breakdowns, flat tires, overheating, a dead battery -- anything that might require towing or immediate repair. Dispatches are made to the exact location of a disabled vehicle.
  • Automatic Urgent Incident Alert System, which places a call to the Verizon Vehicle Member Care Center in the event of a suspected accident. Help is immediately dispatched to the location if a crash is confirmed or the driver isn’t responsive.
  • One-Button SOS Assistance, which immediately connects the driver to a live agent for emergency aid.
  • Auto Health System with Predictive Diagnostics, which translates most “Check Engine” light occurrences into real terms, including the description and severity of the matter, the probable solutions for the problem, and the appropriate cost for the repairs. The system is also designed to provide early warnings relating to some vehicle functions, even before a warning light comes on, to help keep drivers off the side of the road.
  • Mechanic’s Hotline, which is staffed with A.S.E.-certified mechanics.
  • Parking & Meter Tools, which help drivers find where they left their vehicle – using the Verizon Vehicle smartphone app – while also keeping track of how much time is left on the meter.
  • Maintenance Alerts, which inform when scheduled maintenance is required.
  • Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance, which guides drivers through the process of reporting a theft and helps authorities recover the stolen vehicle.
  • Travel & Repair Savings, which include discounts on hotels, vehicle rentals, auto maintenance, repairs and related travel expenses. 

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet