Colin-on-Cars – Collecting data for better driving

With so many reports of data breaches and information hacks across social media platforms, a major fear motorists have is the data collected by on-board systems in their cars could be shared without their permission.

The Automobile Association (AA) has launched AA Connected Car, which is a combination of hardware and software and is available to motorists across South Africa – and comes with the assurance the data remains the property of the driver/car owner.

MiX Telematics Africa Managing Director, Gert Pretorius (left) and AA CEO, Willem Groenewald, say the partnership between the two companies will provide game changing  technology to South African motorists.

“This will not only give individual drivers but also Fleet Managers access to a wide range of data which is easily accessible online via desktop or mobile devices and which will enable them to save money and improve their or their drivers’ safety on the road. The feature which provides access to a Digital Logbook, for instance, is especially convenient for individual motorists, business owners, and Fleet Managers who want to use the data for tax purposes,” says Willem Groenewald, CEO of the AA.

AA Connected Car works through easily installed hardware on a vehicle and software available on Huawei, Apple or Android devices. The data collected is owned by the driver or Fleet Manager, to which no third party has access.

The fact the data collected is owned by the owner of the vehicle and not shared with any third party (unless the owner wishes to do so) is an important feature of the new product. In a survey conducted by the AA in late 2018, 84% of owners said the data collected should be theirs and not shared with anyone else, as is the case with some similar options available on the market.

In a recent position paper on car connectivity, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) noted: “Connectivity should lead to a decrease of breakdowns, anticipatory maintenance for better reliability, reduce costs and increase convenience for users”.

“We want owners to have information which they can analyse to drive safer and more economically. The data provided by AA Connected Car does that. It includes information on elements such as harsh braking, cornering and acceleration, speeding, and low battery notifications. The data can also be used to effectively manage costs and is easily downloaded online or on mobile. AA Connected Car can also track vehicles, an attractive feature for fleet owners,” says Groenewald.

He says an added benefit of AA Connected Car is it gives parents and guardians of young and new drivers some comfort knowing they are able to determine the movements of their vehicles and to detect certain problems with their children’s vehicles, should they occur.

“Being able to monitor a vehicle’s performance, and to track its movements, provides some protection for families as they can react quickly if there appears to be an issue. It’s an attractive feature of the system, and certainly one we believe makes it a useful tool for parents and guardians who will know if the vehicle arrives at a specific location, if it moves when it shouldn’t, or if there are issues on it which need attention.” 

AA Connected Car is being launched in partnership with MiX Telematics Africa who is providing the technology which supports the service.

“MiX Telematics is honoured to have been selected by the Automobile Association to provide the hardware and software for their AA Connected Car solution,” says Gert Pretorius, Managing Director of MiX Telematics Africa.

“We believe it is collaborations such as this that bring innovative safety solutions to the market, aiming to make a positive difference to vehicle owners’ lives by enhancing their access to real-time data. 

According to Groenewald, AA Connected Car is a game changer for South African motorists.

“The information provided through this service, which is readily and easily available to every owner, will make the driving experience safer and better. If owners use the data to adjust their driving behaviour and monitor their vehicle’s performance, they will find their vehicles are lasting longer, their efficiency is improving, and they are driving safer overall. We believe this product fits perfectly with our mission to make roads in South Africa safer,” he says.

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