New smartphone app analyses your driving ability and if you’re good you could score cheaper car insurance

A new smartphone app that tracks and scores your driving behaviour was released today in an advancement that will see insurance companies reward better drivers with cheaper quotes.

Octo U, which can be downloaded for free on iOS and Android smartphones, collects and stores telematics data based on users’ driving behaviour — and scores them out of ten.

The app detects, reconstructs and analyses the events that occurred during the trip, such as harsh braking, rapid acceleration, speeding and cornering.

It also takes into account elements such as weather, road conditions, time of day, type of road, distance, length of journey, cornering, and traffic conditions — and then sends users tips on how to improve.

Drivers with good scores are rewarded with the option of an insurance quote from a panel of insurers, which they can choose to accept at their discretion. Users can then share their score with insurers, which will offer fairer quotes based on the qualified risk profile.

Using a proprietary GPS-related algorithm, telematics firm Octo is able to calculate the g-force generated during driving events without the inherent corruption of non-fixed accelerometer data.

Octo specialises in telematics devices that drivers can opt in to when purchasing car insurance in order to secure discounts ranging between 10% and 30%. But the new app, which doesn’t require the installation of any hardware in the car, is its first direct play to the consumer market.

Once downloaded and registered, including via social sign on, Octo U immediately starts collecting data about the driver’s trips. It also has an auto start and auto stop feature, delivering automated trip functionality without the need for the user to start and stop the app.

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Integration with Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus allows drivers to add ‘friends’ to their timeline, decide on who to follow and what to share, and set the privacy settings accordingly.

Connected car

Data is collected by the app and sent from the front-end mobile device to the back-end intelligence, which then analyses the trip in order to ensure the integrity and reliability of the scoring mechanism.

The company claims Octo U is more accurate than similar apps owing to the accuracy of its algorithm, which is constantly learning and defines a more detailed picture of the driver the longer they are on the road.

The proprietary calculus algorithm is able to detect whether a trip is valid or not, and to reject it in the event that the user is travelling on a train or shuttle and thus not on a road. Users can also flag trips where they have been a passenger or riding on public transport.

It integrates external data sets available from Here Maps, IBM and the Weather Channel to provide a more complete driving scoring algorithm.

Building on its influence in the burgeoning connected car market, Octo also plans to add non-insurance based services around reducing the cost of motoring, rewarding customers with incentives that are specific to the trips they take and providing for enhanced social sharing and engagement.

“We are putting control back into the hands of drivers,” said Fabio Sbianchi, CEO at Octo Telematics. “We hope that by better understanding what makes a good driver and with the incentive of a cheaper insurance quote, app users will be safer on the roads.”

Umberto Callegari, head of digital and digital strategy at Octo Telematics, added: “We’re aiming to create a mobile platform able to link with the existing digital life of a user in order to enrich and dramatically improve the general driving experience, which is where many people spend a significant amount of their lives.

“Apps like exercise monitors began the self-measurement trend and we’re applying this concept to give drivers better self-awareness about their road behaviour. By giving them a score we’re aiming to put control back into the hands of drivers.”

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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