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Seen & Heard: The steps of Big Brother

Started by Jerry, 2004-08-16T10:39:40-05:00 (Monday)

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A radio news report stated that some auto insurance companies are offering discounts if you allow them to install a gps device in your car that records where and how often you drive your car  :-o

Yeah, discount for some, most likely an increase for most.

Drive through a high crime area on your way to work, take a route that is shorter but has a few more car wrecks, park in a parking lot of a liquor store (whether your buying or not), go to any place they don't approve of, and, of course, calculating your speed will be easy enough.

Wireless technology will usher in a whole new batch of privacy vs public interest controversies.
"Make a Little Bird House in Your Soul" - TMBG...


Just what I need.  A bunch more statistics that say I'm a high-risk driver even though I've never been in a wreck or been issued a ticket.

Quotecalculating your speed will be easy enough.
I haven't seen a GPS that can accurately give vehicle speed, so I'm sure it just plugs into the onboard computer system (Simple on '96 models or newer).  That means there is a simple fix: Taller tires will throw the spedometer off.  Also, it wouldn't be that difficult to make an electronic device that will alter/generate speed information.:shifty:

Also, what happens if I get my car stuck on the ice again?  I wonder how much the rates will go up for "driving" at 140 MPH for about two minutes.:banned:
"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." -James Madison


I was thinking something a little simpler than recording your spedometer readings.

Given two locations and the time stamps that you were at those locations it is a quick calculation to determine the average speed you must have been going to get from point A to point B.

If the insurance companies have access to a database of roads that indicates the speed limit, they can say on your next statement "Dear Mr. Smith, it appears that you have had at least 20 seperate incidence of speeding over the last month therefore we are increasing your premium for this quarter by $10 for each incident. Have a nice day."  :-P
"Make a Little Bird House in Your Soul" - TMBG...


Yes, but average speed tells little of instantaneous speed, which is what I expect they would be more interested in.  If you've ever expected to get somewhere in the amount of time estimated by MapQuest, you realize that averageing a speed greater than the speed limit is incredibly difficult unless you're driving on wide open interstate. 8-)

They could get around this problem by sampling points at frequent intervals.  But that is exactly what the GPS unit does to give its velocity reading, which in my limited experience is only accurate to within about 5 MPH or so.  The shorter the intervals, the more the velocity is effected by the inacuracy of the device itself and the longer the intervals, the more it is affected by the system assuming you're driving in a perfectly straight line.  So I don't know if they could find a sample interval that would be sufficiently accurate to meet their needs.  But they managed to do just that with radar guns, so they probably can do the same with GPS eventually.
"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." -James Madison


I'm not sure that it is a matter of HOW they would do it but more a matter of that they could and therefore most likely WOULD do it.  I'm a firm believer that insurance companies are some of the most greedy companies out there.
Bryan Grubaugh
Quickly aging alumni with too much time on his hands
Business Systems Analyst, Scripps Networks.