Telematics systems are almost guaranteed to become standard-fit items in new vehicles before the decade is out.

A European initiative will ensure that all new cars are fitted with the technology for safety reasons by 2015 and fleet-friendly software is expected to be built on top of that.

Experts claim that there have already been signs of these items creeping into cars that are currently on sale and that it won’t be long before fleets can procure their vehicles with ready-made telematics platforms.

Damian James, head of operations at Bracknell Forest Council, told BusinessCar: “They will be in all new cars as part of the E-Call programme. It’s a European initiative and by 2015 black boxes will be installed on all new cars. It’s the same as Volvo’s SOS system and is purely for safety reasons.

“Obviously, once that system is in all cars you can build on it and introduce things like pay per mile insurance.”

It is expected that various apps, downloads and similar technological aids will appear after telematics systems have become standard, and allow businesses to effectively download software specific to their requirements, rather than having a box fitted.

Giles Margerison, sales director of TomTom Business Solutions, said: “It’s a case of making life easier – that’s where things will develop. You can integrate with fuel-card providers and there are now apps for drivers – we’ve just launched the second one in a year. Anything that means you’re not always sitting at a PC, waiting for things to download, will develop.”

The concern is that the standardisation of telematics systems in cars would make it easier for Governments to implement road charging, and potentially overhaul current road tax legislation in favour of a pay-as-you-drive system.

James continued: “It’s highly likely that there will be a move towards road user charging. If you look at the declining fuel duty the Government is getting then it has to plug the gap somehow, and this might be the way to do it.

“In the US, it’s not politically acceptable to raise fuel duty and the last rise was in 2004. We’re certainly getting to that point here, because the last couple of fuel duty rises have been delayed or cancelled and it’s not a big vote-winner. This won’t happen soon but maybe by the end of the decade it might be becoming acceptable.”