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Telematics on the BBC

Historically, telematics has sometimes had a bad rap. In the old days, lots of people grumbled and groaned about data and Big Brother and plenty of other nonsense that turned out not to matter to the people who needed it: under-25s.

Watchdog takes a negative view of telematics

Last night, BBC's Watchdog took a glance at black boxes and how accurate they are. I say glance, because there wasn't an awful lot of investigation - it was more about testing cars than testing telematics.

This question comes up every now and then for ingenie: 'how accurate is the data you collect?'

It could be because someone's had a message about their speeding and they reckon they've been driving like Mother Theresa. It might be a parent who wants to know how much detail their son or daughter will get in their feedback.

How accurate is it? Very. We collect data on how our customers are driving at a rate of 10 Hz - that's 10 times a second.

The data is run through close to 200 algorithms to spot trends in behaviour. We developed these with driver psychology experts at Cranfield University, and we've now been tweaking them for over 5 years.

If those algorithms find worrying trends in the driving data, like regularly driving at unacceptably high speeds, it's then manually checked by a human. Only when that human has said 'Yup, that seems worrying' - cross-referencing details like GPS, central speed limit data and road layout - does the driver get a call from our lovely Driver Behaviour Unit, who will work with the driver to improve their feedback.

We've proved it works

90% of our drivers get through their first year with their No Claims Discount intact and 70% even drive well enough to earn discounts on their insurance.

It's a shame the BBC didn't show the real success stories of telematics insurance (and finished on a bunch of tips that are never going to lower insurance as much as a black box!) but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. We know our approach works, and so do the drivers and parents who have benefitted from it.

Honor Clement-Hayes

By Honor Clement-Hayes

Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .