Telematics firm hopes to crack lucrative Russian market

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Despite having a population that’s disproportionate to its landmass, where you’d think people would have enough room to avoid one another, Russia has some of the world’s most treacherous roadways. Part of that is down to large numbers of uninsured and dangerous drivers, but also because pedestrians have become an entirely new hazard on their own. One quick Youtube search will pull up masses of videos of people attempting to be hit by cars in the hope of getting an insurance payout. While drivers may have resorted to dash cams to prevent their record being tainted, telematics could offer an even better insight into these incidents and one company is hoping to take on that role.

Looking to tackle both the personal and business world of insurance in Russia in one fell swoop, Risk Technology and R Telematica will offer telematics services in the country through local insurers. The plan is to offer a device to currently insured drivers, who can install it themselves and wirelessly send feedback to the telematics firm on how their driving is. This will not only bring down their premiums, encourage safer driving and give a decent insight into Russian drivers as a whole, but also help prevent instances of insurance fraud where pedestrians hope to make a quick buck off of the insured driver.

The device, according to TelematicsWire, works with the car’s onboard diagnostic port, to track important information about acceleration and braking. It also has a built in three axis accelerometer that also measures driver behaviour, whilst GPS and GNSS satellite technology keeps an eye on where they are at any moment. All of this information is sent to the cloud, where it’s analysed and quantified before being sent to the insurer. Risk Technology can also analyse the data in the event of an accident, determining what happened through driver action and car warnings.

“We were chosen by R-Telematica to provide the front and end solution as well as our patented crash detection and vehicle diagnostics IP”, says Mark Packman, Managing Director at Risk Technology. “R-Telematica has blended our data collection and Cloud based solution with its own rich set of features using GIS, LBS and navigation services”.

It’s hoped that over time, technology like this will help reduce instances of insurance fraud across the board, as well as reduce driver fatalities and accidents within the country. While Russia is far from the worst in the world when it comes to road safety, it does have reasonably high numbers of accidents, which should come down as the years go on and more telematics hardware finds its way into vehicles.

In the mean time though, individuals with the technology can take a look at their own stats through Risk’s software, seeing how often they brake too sharply or accelerate too quickly. They can also check fuel economy and compare their driving score with other drivers to see how they rank. Forcing a competitive safety element in to the equation is thought to be one of the better ways of encouraging better practices.

Only time will tell how effective it is though.

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Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.