Known as a maker of transmissions and other truck driveline components, ZF Friedrichshafen is moving into telematics with an open-platform system designed to integrate a broad variety of onboard and management applications that currently function as standalone products. Combining onboard hardware and software with a hosted web-based platform, Openmatics will allow fleets to add “apps” developed by vehicle manufacturers and third parties to customize the system for their particular operation.

The system was developed with Intel, using an Intel Atom processor and a Linux operating system for the onboard hardware. Wireless communication is handled by a variety of land-based networks. Introducing the new platform at the recent IAA Commercial Vehicle truck show in Hannover, Germany, ZF said it brings expertise in networking driveline components and a global service network for fleet operations to the project. It will also host the web-based system.

Initially Openmatics is being released with apps designed for city bus fleets, including an electronic tachograph. However, ZF said it expects its open system platform to attract a broad range of telematics applications, including remote diagnostics, vehicle and cargo tracking, and even multimedia products.

Production of the Openmatics hardware is scheduled to begin in 2011, with a telematics AppStore expected to follow, according to ZF. There was no word on whether ZF has plans to bring the system to North America.