SA-developed app coming to Renault cars

Mark Allewell

Cape Town audio tour guides company Tourism Radio has signed a deal with Renault that will result in it supplying an application for Android-powered tablets the French car maker intends including in its vehicles from next year.

CEO Mark Allewell says the app, which will offer location-relevant tourist information, will be available in Renault’s app store as soon as it launches it. It will provide basic information for free, with users having to pay nominal amounts for further content.

The app is expected to be available in new Renault vehicles from the fourth quarter of 2012. Renault’s R-Link in-car tablet will consist of a 7-inch touch display tied to steering wheel-mounted controls. It will feature speech recognition technology and will include TomTom Live navigation and vehicle information. It will be available across the Renault range as an optional extra.

Allewell says that until now Tourism Radio has been using a custom device that includes a GPS and an FM transmitter. It detects a user’s location and collates appropriate audio clips, which are then transmitted to the car’s radio. Should a user enter a new area, the clips are updated accordingly.

The company already has deals in place with local car rental firms and also recently expanded into New Zealand and Spain, with plans to offer services in Australia from next year.

“We also do Android and iOS tour guide location-based apps,” Allewell says. One of these is Hummba, which supplies information on attractions and allows users to track their routes, add images, share information with other users and make purchases from the audio-guide store.

The company plans to release a standalone app free of the social elements of Hummba in March and Allewell says there are already a number of partnerships in place with SA companies, some of which want to use the service and others that want to adapt it to their own businesses.  — Craig Wilson, TechCentral

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