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Spy under your car bonnet 'worth billions by 2016'

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Technology that allows cars to snoop on motorists and tell insurers about their bad driving will form a worldwide market worth $14.4bn (£8.95bn) by 2016, analysts reckon.

A new report from Juniper Research suggests intelligent vehicles chock-full of gear for navigating, recording info for insurance purposes, and telling the AA exactly where you broke down on the M25 will bring in the big bucks as newer telematics units can be stuffed into motors as an afterthought.

Firms touting the technology will expand into new countries and extend their product lines, although the US will have the most clever vehicles, Juniper said.

The ball-gazers also reckon that every new car model will have a way to hook up punters' smartphones by 2016, putting 92 million internet-connected jalopies on the road.

The most well-known form of smartening up cars is GPS navigation from the likes of TomTom and Garmin, but telematics is now doing a lot more. Fitting gadgets to delivery vans, for example, allows managers to monitor their employees fleet for more efficiency.

Car location services are handy not just for your breakdown service but also for police if your gas guzzler is stolen, and insurers are starting to use telematics to monitor good and bad driving to give better rates to careful law-abiding folks - while everyone else's prices presumably go up. ®

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