Archives For telematics

2012-07-24 16.00.52-1The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to force automakers to install “black boxes” in new vehicles.

Ostensibly the NHTSA simply wants to collect data that might help improve safety for drivers and passengers and it certainly would also prove most useful in determining what led to accidents and assigning fault, no doubt.

The anecdote in the article linked below does show how it would easily resolve events that happen on the road where there are no witnesses.

Still, there is a major privacy issue here. Also a question of ownership over the data.

One would think the data should belong to the owner of the car, and not, say, the insurance company that covers you.

According to the ABC News story:

“Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray of Massachusetts found out the hard way last year.

He crashed a car he was driving and told police that he was wearing a seatbelt and was not speeding at the time of the crash.

However the black box installed in his car revealed he was actually speeding at 75 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone, before accelerating to more than 100 miles per hour.”


Read full coverage on the feds’ “little black box” from ABC News below:

Feds Want ‘Black Boxes’ in New Cars, But Who Will Be Tracking You?

Transportation tracking technologies, like all mobile communications and other technology, has made significant advancements in the past few years … BIG advancements.

The car you drive today is definitely NOT your father’s Oldsmobile, that brand being phased out in 2004 and then fading into history with GM’s 2009 bankruptcy reorganization. It’s all part of ongoing change and evolution.

Regardless of the kind of car you drive, classic or modern, if you’ve got Viper on board you know communication with your car today is already shockingly advanced — and only going to get even more so as the technology further evolves.

Nearly every new vehicle you’d drive off a lot today has some kind of built-in mobile infomatics, also called Telematics for managing information within the vehicle. Telematics systems are integrated within on-board electronics and can be supplemented with aftermarket devices for sharing information through smartphones, alarm monitoring systems, GPS navigation, crash notification, or insurance applications for reporting and rewarding good driving behavior.

If you’re a good driver, you can PROVE it, and your insurance company may give you a discounted rate for sharing your driving history, rather than a higher flat rate insurance that you pay now, whether you drive your car very much or not.

Check out this article from last week on in the U.K. It’s predicting that all of us will be benefiting from Telematics or working with the technology in our cars in the very near future. This is the kind of technology that should help U.S. drivers receive incentives to drive more carefully and ultimately save money and save lives.

Insurance Telematics is already standard business practice in many countries, including Italy, Spain and the U.K. For claims investigations, having detailed crash data reported through the vehicle in real-time at the moment of the event saves considerable time and cost for insurers.

Those drivers willing to share this information can settle their claims more quickly and inexpensively, since the insurer can direct investigation and repairs immediately and more accurately apportion “blame” to specific drivers. It’s always the OTHER driver’s fault … the one driving the bright red Oldsmobile, right?

With Telematics on board, we’ll know for sure.

Rob Martin is a former D.C. lobbyist and executive of the national emergency dispatch and 9-1-1 associations, now a telematics advocate settled in sunny SoCal and leading North American Operations for Octo Telematics. Safe drivers can create the future of auto insurance! Read more at

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.