Variable premiums the intrusive way

Scientists at the University of Nagoya have developed software that tracks your driving style. It knows how hard you press the accelerator/brake; your distance from other vehicles; and how violently you turn the steering wheel.

Scientists at the University of Nagoya have developed software that tracks your driving style. It knows how hard you press the accelerator/brake; your distance from other vehicles; and how violently you turn the steering wheel. Its ostensible purpose is to give you feedback that will make you a better driver.

So What?

Ha! That's not its purpose, not in the least. Its purpose is to introduce variable-premium auto insurance. And here's how it will work.

Your insurance provider will use the cellular network to send real-time data on your driving habits to a server. There your premium will be dynamically adjusted and fed back to a "premium needle" that's been installed on your dashboard. The needle will bounce back and forth as your driving becomes more or less safe, thereby giving you a dollar (pound, yen, Euro,...) metric against which to gauge your driving. If you give people a metric, they'll tend to optimize it, so the variable-premium approach to insurance should make for safer driving by all.

Actually, if they really wanted to have an impact on driving behavior, they'd hook the server up to a voice response system that would dial the car's owner and shout, "Slow down! That's dangerous!" That would make them sit up and take notice. Then it would get really angry: "And while you're at it, hang up! 'Cause that's dangerous, too!"