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IBM wins $125m car black box deal with UAE

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IBM has won a $125m deal with the government of the United Arab Emirates to install tracking devices into tens of thousands of cars by the end of next year.

The four-year deal is believed to be the largest in the telematics sector to date. IBM will equip cars and trucks in the state with a telematics device and global positioning system.

Similar in concept to the 'black boxes' which track the flight paths of aircraft, the devices will monitor drivers' activities and broadcast them to government agencies. The data will be used by the government to monitor traffic habits, as well as by companies to tailor their advertising to the consumer.

The boxes will also monitor a car's speed and use GPS to compare this to the local speed limit. If the car is speeding the device will warn the driver.

The deal is part of the UAE government's five-year goal to halve the number of accident-related fatalities in the country, a figure which currently stands at 38 deaths per 100,000 people.

Once the first phase of the project is completed, IBM intends to compete for the second phase, which will build on the infrastructure already in place.

GPS-monitored speed sensing systems are already being trialed in the Netherlands and several other EU countries. There are no plans as yet to expand the techology to monitor other forms of dangerous driving. ®

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