Mo­torhome speed­sters to get tap on shoul­der

Marlborough Express - - BUSINESS - AMANDA CROPP

Au­to­mated warn­ings that dra­mat­i­cally re­duced mo­torhome speed­ing in Aus­tralia is be­ing ex­tended to Tourism Hold­ings’ en­tire fleet world wide.

THL chief ex­ec­u­tive Grant Web­ster said the two-year trial in Aus­tralia had re­duced speed­ing in­ci­dents by 70 per cent, and re­pair and main­te­nance costs had dropped by a quar­ter, earn­ing the com­pany a safety award from the Aus­tralian Fleet Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion.

Au­to­mated mes­sages warn driv­ers when they are over the speed limit, brak­ing too hard, com­ing up to low over­passes or bridges, or might be fa­tigued.

The plan now was to put the sys­tem – cur­rently in 1400 mo­torhomes and camper­vans – into all 4000 THL rental ve­hi­cles in New Zealand, Aus­tralia, the UK and US by 2020.

Web­ster said the tele­met­rics also pro­vided geo-lo­ca­tion data so the com­pany could track the where­abouts of its ve­hi­cles, which had proved use­ful in the case of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters such as cy­clones and bush­fires.

‘‘We can iden­tify where cus­tomers are and have been able to con­tact them and say ‘you’re head­ing to­wards a bush­fire zone, please turn back,’ and we can watch and track, and make sure they do.’’

He said the track­ing tech­nol­ogy would have been help­ful dur­ing the Kaik­oura earth­quake when the com­pany had 50 ve­hi­cles among more than 300 mo­torhomes trapped by mas­sive slips along State High­way 1.

Many mo­torhome users hol­i­day­ing in New Zealand are not ac­cus­tomed to driv­ing on the left, and new tech­nol­ogy may even­tu­ally help pre­vent crashes caused by them veer­ing onto the wrong side of the road.

THL is tri­alling about a dozen Ger­man-made mo­torhomes with lane de­tec­tion sys­tems that warn driv­ers when they cross the white line, but Web­ster said the sys­tem was very ex­pen­sive and not en­tirely proven.

‘‘It will come.’’

PHOTO: DEREK FLYNN/STUFF

Th­ese mo­torhomes were trapped by slips af­ter the Kaik­oura earth­quakes. Rental com­pa­nies are us­ing geo-lo­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy to keep cus­tomers up­dated in such sit­u­a­tions.

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