Looking much like an APP that we are all used to, DrivePlus is the first to the market with a multi-function phone based piece of software that will be useful to companies operating vans or cars and also private drivers who are willing to be monitored to reduce insurance costs
Starting with vehicle trackers for theft recovery the motor industry has scratched its head for ever more functionality of the location systems available with a phone chip. As phones have acquired gps and added this to the already set up location systems that use phone aerial masts, the options available to a fleet manager have increased by the week
Hot on the heels of trackers were black box recorders that enable young drivers to prove their driving is limited and sensible
Now, simply installed on an iphone, tracking and recording are being used as a basis for a massive increase in telematics. Insurance savings are now being offered to adults as well as young drivers, using a simple Bluetooth sender from the OBD2 (On Board Diagnostics) unit of all cars and vans, the phone also monitors the fuel consumption and emissions of a vehicle. From a fleet management point of view, this will simplify the servicing of business cars, with the ability to forward plan maintenance and tyre replacement. Company cars covering large annual mileage of course have a more complex maintenance and tyre replacement schedule than those with more normal mileage. In a high mileage leasing environment, anything that helps organise the schedules will be welcome.
Private mileage and business mileage disputes will be a thing of the past with the PC based software having the ability to calculate mileage payments due to staff automatically
Van insurers are offering discounts for use of their own apps to allow monitoring of driving styles. This will add the ability of the company to locate a van for delivery, security and logistics
If systems like this become the norm, then insurance claims arguments will almost be a thing of the past. There will be no argument about who was doing what speed and accelerometers built into phones will record sudden acceleration or deceleration and its direction. Whiplash fraud will all but disappear. At a Summer conference, an underwriter from one of the biggest insurance companies pointed out that if 80% of drivers with smartphones had a similar APP, premiums would reduce by 40% with no change to cover
One last proposal around the corner is a reverse telematics. With the involvement of the manufacturer of the engine management system, cars and vans can be optimised for their use by mapping via the OBD2 based on the use profile of that vehicle. From an emissions point of view, this is a big step forward