Hyundai Motor and IBM are developing a new telematics service for vehicles that is expected to debut next June in Korea.

The two companies are claiming that the new, open-standards-based services will mark a major step forward in the development of automotive telematics. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

However, none of the new services offered to vehicle owners appear to be particularly innovative, at least from the point of view of US car owners already accustomed to the likes of GM’s OnStar teleatics.

They include air-bag deployment notification, which would automatically call emergency rescue services in the event of an accident, remote theft-alarm and stolen-vehicle tracking via global positioning system (GPS), a GPS navigation system that would deliver up-to-the-minute traffic information for the selected route--via map or by interactive voice response, an information portal that would deliver news, weather and stock quotes--as well as email and internet access--in text or by interactive voice response, data synchronisation for personal digital assistants, mobile telephones and other devices and 24-hour assistance and concierge services via on-call representatives.

Potential future expansions include advanced vehicle diagnostics and ‘prognostics’ services could sense a potential mechanical failure before it occurs -- alerting drivers to schedule maintenance needs.

Hyundai forsees extending telematics to, for example, insurance companies which could use telematics to automatically receive notification of an accident and approve – or deny? - claims -- reducing the overall cost of such transactions.

Anticipating the potential demand, Hyundai and IBM are implementing an open, flexible and scalable telematics infrastructure that can easily expand and grow as adoption increases.

The Hyundai-IBM telematics system under development is based on open standards and uses Korea's cellular communications infrastructure, said to be one of the most advanced in the world.

LG Electronics and Hyundai Autonet are supplying the embedded devices for the cars, while LG Telecom provides the wireless infrastructure.