Tag Archives: driving

Would you accept in-car surveillance for cheaper insurance?

car dashboard, TokyoSometimes it feels like there’s a camera watching us everywhere we go… and maybe the next step will be cameras watching us as we go between places, too. If you thought the idea of allowing the cable companies to watch you watching TV so they can serve you more relevant advertising was a bit weird, then try this for size: an insurance company offering to install a camera in your car so as to lower your premiums once you start letting your teenager borrow it. [via SlashDot, image by w00kie]

Of course, the TeenSafeDriver Program insists that no data would be gathered on other drivers of the same vehicle… just like the cable companies insist that their watching of the watchers would be benign and unobtrusive. Yet somehow I’m still reminded of the vampiric cliché: you’re only at risk if you invite them in to the house.

My immediate thought was “who’d be mad enough to sign up for that?” But then I thought back to Jan Chipchase’s post about augmented reality marketing:

nobody’s going to stick an advertising driven augmented reality lens in their eye, right? How about for ‘free’ healthcare monitoring? Or because speed-dating is so much more fun when you have real time sexual preference look-ups on the people you’re looking at?

The TeenSafeDriver people have evidently sussed that you need to incentivize an intrusive technology if you want to roll it out successfully; I’ll be interested to see if similar schemes gain any traction in these times of lean finance.

Also worthy of note to any business nerds in the audience: this looks like an interesting iteration of the Andersonian “Free” business model, with the insurance company gambling the cost of the camera installations against the increased sign-up volume it hopes to obtain by offering the reduced premiums. I really have no idea whether it’ll catch on… but if it does, the car insurance landscape is going to change very fast.