Toronto-based Skymeter Developing Vehicle Locating Billing System

Imagine being able to park your car near a meter, and getting billed automatically. Or how about paying for the roads which you actually drive on, instead of subsidizing all the roads being used by all the other vehicles in the region with your taxes. A Toronto-based startup, called Skymeter, is developing this technology using what it calls ‘financial-grade GPS’ data. It was in the news recently with an article in the Toronto Star about its made-to-measure road toll system. Their solution involves equipping vehicles with a small GPS-enabled device which attaches to the windshield and is then able to accurately track the vehicle’s movement. Brief excerpt from the article:

Its wireless technology will allow vehicles to communicate with parking meters, highway operators and even insurance companies to generate instant billing for time spent in a parking spot, distance travelled on a road and even “pay as you go” insurance coverage.

Skymeter recently received a $500,000 loan from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation and is a tenant in Toronto’s MaRS Centre. In 2007, at the Canadian Venture Forum held in Toronto, Skymeter was selected as “the best angel company” and attracted investment interest from a group of US-based investors in the transportation field. According to the company’s website, they are currently seeking funding from professional/strategic investors in the >$5million range.

The company seeks to usher in a lot of change, and it remains to be seen how comfortable drivers would be in being open to having their vehicle movement tracked down to the wire, for the convenience of being able to park without getting out of the car. What do you think ?