A new traffic messaging system promises 50 times as much data as today's TMC technology.

TPEG - standing for Transport Protocol Experts Group - can handle 3000 messages a minute, compared to TMC's 60.

According to researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute, that could mean richer in-car information services without relying on expensive (and patchy) mobile internet services.

Taking messages up a TPEG

Automakers and device manufacturers, information service providers, research institutions and others have joined forces to create a consortium to establish TPEG as a European and international standard.

The information is transmitted DAB digital radio broadcasts and can be displayed on a new generation of sat navs, or even car radios. Warning messages in response to dynamic speed limits would be one option, as would finely tuned local weather forecasts and even information on parking spaces in the surrounding area.

The new encrypted premium services will offer a wealth of information tailored to specific customer groups: drivers of a specific car brand, owners of a certain sat nav or members of an automobile club, all with access to information such as up-to-date traffic and road data. However, there will still be free access to information on tailbacks, roadworks and accidents, as with the current European system.

Fraunhofer boffins are testing the system now, with the expectation that TPEG sat navs using encrypted messaging services will be on the market within years.