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@Road Scores Patent for Location Software

Mobile business software maker @Road Wednesday said it has secured a U.S. patent for technology used in its GeoManager platform.

The Fremont, Calif.-based company's franchise product uses Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to pinpoint a vehicle's location. The company's software also offers two-way messaging and dispatch communications. @Road transmits the data to a service center using agreements with wireless network operators such as AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless, Nextel, and Verizon. To date, @Road says it has signed up 90,000 mobile workers to its products and services.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office patent numbered 6,459,988 is titled "Method and system for detecting vehicle collision using global positioning system."

The invention describes a method by which the global positioning system can be used to detect abnormal conditions, including dramatic acceleration, deceleration, free-fall and rollover, in the field.

A mobile device captures signals emitted by global positioning system satellites. These signals are either translated by the mobile device into position, velocity and time data or wirelessly transmitted to a server that executes similar calculations. The results are compared with threshold data, such as the maximum possible deceleration using an automobile's braking system. Where the threshold is crossed, this information, along with data captured by the mobile device prior to and after the incident, is made available to authorized users.

The invention further contemplates making additional relevant information, such as current traffic conditions or the closest emergency response unit or hospital, available concurrently with the incident data. Captured data can be combined with automobile system information, such as air-bag deployment or other diagnostics, to provide additional information surrounding an incident.

The data can then be made available in a variety of formats, including text report, graphical map overlay and oral communication via text-to-speech interface. From there, authorized users can access the data in a variety of ways, including by using any Internet-connected device or any wireless or wireline telephone.

"We are very pleased that the investment we have made over the past several years in intellectual property protection and patent prosecution has begun to bear fruit," said Krish Panu, CEO of @Road.

With the new copyright in hand, @Road holds seven patents and has 35 additional patents pending in other countries.

@Road's other major platform RoadFORCE also uses aspects of the newly patented technology. The service is designed to provide remote access to mobile workforce activity, monitor field worker performance, access location information, manage employee accountability, and provide detailed information to their customers.