INRIX launches XD Traffic: Should TomTom, NAVTEQ, or MILE Traffic and Travel be Worried?

Seattle-based INRIX chose Europe’s main Telematics conference taking place in Munich, Germanyon November 3/4 to unveil its latest traffic offer under the slightly cheesy XD label, clearly targeting TomTom’s flagship HD Traffic solution.

XD Traffic offers premium real-time and predictive traffic service optimized for the delivery of next generation connected navigation and driver services applications in the car, on mobile devices and online and will be available in Europe and the US in 20 markets. It will be used by Ford in SYNC-equipped vehicles from 2011. Main features and benefits include Busy Commuter (faster routes, best time to leave, travel time and ETA), speed predictions and traffic forecasts based on weather conditions, school schedules and local events, Traffic Ahead, Friend Ahead (social network integration), high accuracy (speed errors smaller than 5 mph 90 % of the time), TPEG Connect, and improved coverage.
While XD Traffic seems to improve on all major areas, the great marketing surrounding it does however not quite manage to shake off lingering doubts about INRIX’s access to large amounts of probe data. While competitors TomTom (Vodafone mobile phone users / connected Live PNDs) and NAVTEQ (Nokia Maps navigation users) are able to leverage tens of millions of probes, INRIX’s probe resources are much more limited, being based on partnerships with fleets and regional automobile clubs as well as its own traffic smartphone applications. However, INRIX at least partially compensates this handicap of limited real-time data densities with advanced predictive traffic modelling and technologies such as SpeedWaves to improve accuracy of traffic speeds on secondary roads.

With competitors TomTom (Renault, Fiat), NAVTEQ, and MILE Traffic and Travel (BMW) all recently having announced major wins in the lucrative car OEM market, INRIX had to react. While XD Traffic integrates some impressive traffic technology, its major strength resides in state of the art marketing which will keep INRIX’s (European) competitors on their toes for quite some time.