RIYADH: Saudi Telecom Co. (STC), the Kingdom’s largest mobile network operator, has entered into a partnership with Irish vehicle software firm Cubic Telecom to develop in-car software solutions for Saudi drivers.
As a result of the link up, the software will then also allow STC to easily add a range of in-car services to Saudi vehicles, including an emergency call system which automatically alerts healthcare services in the event of an accident.
Gerry McQuaid, chief commercial officer at Cubic, told Arab News: “Basically we partnered with STC as a premier car integrity partner in Saudi Arabia. We are enabling the customer to benefit from a range of safety, entertainment, and navigation features when they purchase the car.”
Similar to every market, Saudi Arabia had a strict range of regulations for how connectivity was managed, he said, adding that the software partnership would make it easier for features to be added by carmakers and third-party developers.
“I can’t give a precise date, but in a not-too-distant future you actually don’t need a driving license, the car will actually drive autonomously for the citizens. That is the big difference,” McQuaid said.
“Already software solutions can support this capability, but it does need important regulations to be introduced to start with semi-driving.
“You can request the car on your smart phone, and it will drive to you to get in and the car will drive to your destination. You can listen to music, do some work, and have a conversation while the car drives. This is not science fiction,” he added.
Soon cars will have a whole range of applications, such as an iPhone or other smart phone, with touchscreen interaction and voice regulations, and people will interact with the car from outside using smart phone apps, he said.
On safety regulations, McQuaid pointed out that solutions included an “emergency call” system which would automatically alert emergency services in the event of an accident, give details about the incident, and suggest if it required attention.
Barry Napier, CEO of Cubic Telecom, said: “We are delighted to be working with STC to help car manufacturers activate new opportunities in a very significant market.”
Dr. Sultan bin Saeed, STC’s vice president of business development, said: “Partnering with Cubic enables STC as a digital enabler to simplify the delivery and management of advanced in-car services and gives us a foundation for innovating and meeting the changing needs of customers as new services evolve.”
Cubic Telecom provides connected software solutions in more than 5 million vehicles and devices to at least 100 countries and has already partnered with some of the Gulf region’s largest mobile operators.