Mazda owners in the US will soon be able to request roadside assistance using a new Apple iPhone application developed in conjunction with the service provider.

The ‘app’ is designed to help drivers obtain immediate roadside assistance should they find themselves with a flat tyre, out of petrol, locked out or in need of a tow due to a mechanical failure.  The app puts drivers directly in touch with a roadside assistance agent, who can quickly dispatch assistance to the vehicle’s exact location via GPS-enabled technology.

Mazda claims the new app is the first interactive push notification-based roadside application in the industry. It gives drivers estimated time of arrival (ETA) and service provider information throughout the incident.  Owners can expect to receive three notifications:

• Closed Loop 1 – ETA for service and service provider information with the ability to directly call the service provider or Mazda roadside assistance.
• Closed Loop 2 – Once three quarters of the ETA has elapsed, a reminder notification will be sent to the app with the remaining ETA and service provider information and the ability to directly call the service provider or roadside assistance.
• Closed Loop 3 – Confirmation that the service provider has arrived and service has been completed.

The system works in conjunction with the automaker’s established US roadside assistance programmes.

To offer more efficient service, the app lets owners input critical data related to their vehicles such as the vehicle identification number (VIN), colour and other information.  There is also an emergency response button for urgent situations.

Mazda said the app is designed for easy, intuitive use.  After first asking whether the driver is in a safe location and giving the option to request immediate emergency help, the assistance service then prompts the operator to select from a menu of disablement types.  Depending on the response from the driver, further queries are made to quickly determine the specific nature of the problem and whether, for example, a good spare tyre is in the car or not.

The app can be downloaded, free of charge, from 6 April.  It runs on the iPhone 3G and 3GS cellphone models but not the iPod Touch music player. 

The app was developed in partnership with Mazda’s roadside assistance partner, Cross Country Automotive Services.