Several automated teller machine networks have agreed to participate in a venture that may soon enable consumers to electronically locate accessible cash machines from a rental car.
Cirrus System Inc., owned by MasterCard International; Instant Cash, owned by Norwest Corp.; TX, operated by Transaction Corp. in Wakefield, Mass.; and Exchange International, operated by Electronic Data Systems Corp. have all agreed to provide Navigation Technologies with information about the location of their member banks's ATMs for inclusion in the data base that backs up the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based firm's Intelligent Vehicle Highway System.
This system, which is being tested in a handful of cars in San Jose, Calif., is based on a dashboard terminal that delivers visual and audio directions to a wide array of points of interest, including restaurants, banks and hotels.
Navigation Technologies projects that the system will be installed in 10,000 rental cars by the end of 1994.
Network executives said that participating in the system is an easy way to help increase traffic at their member institutions' ATMs. To participate, a network need only send an electronic version of its ATM locations manual to Navigation Technologies.
Each car terminal is linked to Navigation Technology's mainframe computer via satellite.
The mainframe houses a relational data base of the geographic locations of thousands of points of interest - including ATMs. When a driver enters a request, the mainframe pinpoints the locations of the car and point of interest and downloads audible directions and visual maps to the car's terminal.
As the driver approaches the requested location, the terminal gives instructions on when to turn and updated estimates of the distance.
Similar global positioning systems have been proven viable in military use, so network executives are optimistic that the consumer applications can be made sufficiently accurate.
"If I'm within 100 yards of an ATM, that's good enough. I want to use it, not bomb it," said Richard Lyons, chief operating officer of Internet Inc. in Reston, Va., which operates the Most ATM network.