Telematics: It’s a Liiiiiiiiiittle Scary, My Car Is Spying on Me …

pygmalion05 —  June 28, 2012 — 2 Comments

Hit the brakes! My car at a sudden, violent stop. (See the time captured on the dash!)


That was me this morning, in my 2009 Toyota Camry.

After violently slamming on the breaks, I rolled my eyes at my own stupidity because I could feel the back of my HP laptop come smashing into the back of my seat. The laptop was still in its bag, but I hadn’t secured it well enough, knowing that I’d have to be periodically braking sharply. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Why was I slamming on the breaks and forcing my car to a violent stop?

Well, because my car is spying on me, that’s why.

Have you ever heard of vehicle telematics? The Europeans sure have, and if you haven’t, you will soon.

Basically, telematics is the technology that enables your car to monitor all of those naughty driving behaviors: Whether you’re speeding, if you brake suddenly, and whether you’re in an accident.

Now why would anyone want their car doing that? Long story short, they probably don’t — but guess who does? Insurance companies, that’s who. With telematics, insurance companies can generate their own little “risk portfolio” on all of the drivers that they insure.

And if you’re naughty, they can make you pay. If you’re good, theoretically you can pay less (or at least NOT more, which depending on how you look at it, is less.)

Now again, why will anyone want this technology? Well, probably no one will, but it will eventually be forced on drivers to some extent by insurance companies.

Back to the original question: Why was I slamming on the breaks in my car constantly while on the way to work?

Well, the crazy guy at my office is the one developing our telematics project — and he installed the device on my car to use me as a guinea pig help with testing and to get the tech to work.

Sssoooooooooo, I have to speed over 80 miles an hour on the highway, and slam on the brakes suddenly on back roads — and keep an “event log” for him.

So far my event log reads (oh god, I can’t believe I’m doing this, please avert your eyes, San Diego Police Department):

Speeding over 80mph on the 5 at 8:50pm PT Friday

Slammed on the brakes at 8:13am PT Tuesday morning on the way to work (and snapped a photo)

Slammed on the brakes again at 8:12am PT Wednesday morning (and also snapped a photo)

Slammed on the brakes again at 7:42am PT Thursday morning (either that or at 7:46am PT)

He’s poring over the data so that he can refine how well my car spies on me! Yaaaaaay!!!!

Isn’t that great???!?!?#@%## Or so not great?

I dunno, it’s a brave new world headed our way. Let us know your thoughts in comments.

2 responses to Telematics: It’s a Liiiiiiiiiittle Scary, My Car Is Spying on Me …


    Oh my GOD?!!! How does it work, does it tell you anything in the moment? Will it tell your insurance company? Where is the info stored?


      It’s still a developing technology at the moment, it doesn’t tell you anything right away but relays a signal back. In time, it will theoretically tell your insurance company. Info is stored in an off-site server or company’s off-site cloud storage.

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