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Motorola today announced a new in-vehicle/fixed mount mobile computer. The new VC6096 mobile computer provides wireless voice and data capabilities for transportation and logistics providers.

The unit’s digital and analog ports can interact with the vehicle’s engine management computer (usually called Electronic Control Unit, or ECU), onboard machinery, or any type of sensor. It runs Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1.

This kind of bi-directional real-time data can be used for all sorts of fleet management systems. The VC6096 in-vehicle/fixed mount mobile computer provides mileage, location, driver performance and vehicle metrics such as hours of service and arrival and departure times. With integrated GPS, the VC6096 provides the asset visibility needed to support real-time location-based applications for drivers and dispatchers.

By providing mobile workers with simultaneous voice and data connections via 3.5G WAN connectivity on the GSM network, enterprises can now reduce the number of miles traveled while helping to ensure customers receive deliveries on schedule, says Motorola.

The new VC6096 also integrates SAE J1708 and SAE J1939 telematics support. Dispatchers can see engine error codes to improve overall maintenance, driver productivity, and vehicle utilization as well as information on driving patterns of mobile workers to minimize fuel consumption.

The new VC6096, unlike proprietary solutions, offers an open platform that allows customers to select and control applications and peripherals that best meet their business needs. The VC6096 vehicle/fixed-mount mobile computer is expected to be available in the fourth quarter of 2008.

In other news, Ford Motor has found a new way for parents to keep teen drivers in check when they lend them the car.

MyKey, a car key with a chip, can be programmed to curtail the top speed of its user to 80 mph. It will come standard with the 2010 Focus coupe and eventually will be available on other Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury models, according to Ford.

In addition to implementing a speed limit, the key can be used to limit the volume of the car stereo system and emit a chime for six seconds every five minutes until the driver puts on a seatbelt. It can also be programmed to chime once each time the car reaches 45 mph, 55 mph, and 65 mph to alert young drivers about their acceleration.

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