Dec 12 2008
North East inventor Dr Phillip Tann and Neil Herron – a well-known regional campaigner for motorists hit by questionable parking and speeding fines – launched a business on the back of Dr Tann’s groundbreaking vehicle-tracking system.
And yesterday the South Tyneside business, FleetM8, announced a deal with India’s SLN Technologies which will see the technology marketed throughout the Indian sub-continent.
SLN specialises in telemetric, tracking and communications technology and is involved in the Indian lunar satellite project Chandrayaan and worked on the control system for India’s moon mission.
Initially FleetM8 will market its products as vehicle tracking devices which can either be used via a mobile phone or attached to the vehicle to track speed and location.
However the company is currently working on a number of other applications for the technology including a child safety device and a mobile golf course-mapping device for golfers.
The technology first gained recognition last year when Dr Tann received a speeding ticket from Northumbria Police which claimed he was doing 42 mph in a 30 mph zone.
However, Dr Tann’s vehicle was fitted with a prototype GPS tracking device which not only recorded the vehicle’s position it also recorded a speed, to six decimal places, of 29.177196mph.
Today’s commercialisation of that device follows the sourcing of around £250,000 of investment by directors Dr Tann, campaigner Neil Herron and financial adviser Byron Longstaff.
In recent years Neil Herron has become a well known campaigner for the successful Metric Martyr’s fight – to be allowed to sell fruit and vegetables in imperial weights – and is also a champion for the motorist in parking and speeding disputes.
Last year he exposed errors in Sunderland’s legal regime which resulted in thousands of motorists being refunded for parking tickets.
As well as India, FleetM8’s technology has attracted interest from several other international markets.
Dr. Tann said: “Within a few years we anticipate that cars and other vehicles will once again take the lead with the integration of sophisticated technology transmitting data to a remote ‘black box’ at such low cost and volumes that will enable a multitude of applications to be utilised.
“Just imagine the road networks as a computer network with traffic lights as switches and roundabouts as hubs and we could end up with super-efficient highways and massively reduced congestion.”
The company is preparing to launch the technology in Australia as a mobile phone application through a partnership deal with Vodafone.
FleetM8 has also gained interest from the States and is in talks with a number of haulage firms who could harness the system to monitor long-distance trips. In South Africa, where vehicle theft and car-jacking is rife, interest has been shown in FleetM8 by businesses who would like to market it as a tracking device to assist in recovering stolen vehicles.
Similarly in Kenya, local authorities have expressed an interest in the technology to prevent the increasingly-frequent hijacking of its postal vans.
Dr Tann is also developing a child-tracking application through either a special clip or a mobile phone download for older children, which is expected to come to market in the new year.