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Nearly 1.3 million people die in car crashes each year, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, and an additional 20-50 million end up injured or disabled. There’s a clear and present need for technologies that expedite emergency response, it goes without saying — or better yet, prevent accidents before they occur.
That’s what a new platform from Agero, a self-described “driving solutions” company headquartered in Medford, Massachusetts, aims to accomplish. It’s a software development kit called Driver360, and it taps artificial intelligence (AI) and smartphone sensors to detect car crashes automatically after they’ve happened.
“As the business-to-business leader in roadside assistance and accident management, we believe Agero has a unique ability — and therefore responsibility — to address the recent spike in accident fatalities following decades of steady decline,” Christina DeRosa, Agero’s chief product and marketing officer, said. “We’ve been working toward this goal for two years, and we’re proud to say no other solution holistically combines the power of mobile telemetry and real-time emergency response services to address this critical need.”
Less than 30 seconds after the platform’s algorithms detect a crash, Driver360 notifies staffers at Agero’s emergency contact centers, who in turn phone first responders, insurance carriers, and tow providers. The company claims that in tests, Driver360 correctly identified 95 percent of crashes where an airbag was deployed and 88 percent of accidents requiring a tow.
Driver360’s machine learning models were trained on data from in-lab crash tests and telematics sourced from MileUp, a crowdsourced mobile research study that collected over three billion miles of driving reports through phones. In the case of the latter, Agero validated and verified the data with police reports, insurance claims, accident photos, and footage from MIT’s Autonomous Vehicle Technology Study.
Driver360’s potential uses extend beyond crash detection. It can give insurance providers a heads up on crashes by automatically triggering a First Notice of Loss (FNOL) — the initial report that’s typically the first stage in a formal claim — complete with speed, location, and other relevant data. Moreover, it can record trip-level information for driver scoring and coaching, or for features like speed alerts and maintenance reminders.
“Agero already protects almost one in three vehicles on the road today, processing over 12 million requests per year — including more than one million accident tows and 40,000 calls to 911 — helping insurers and automotive manufacturers safeguard drivers at scale,” added DeRosa. “Driver360 now not only automates much of this process in the case of an accident, it also allows insurers to proactively coach drivers for improved safety, more accurately capture and assess risk data for UBI, and conveniently engage with drivers and their families through their main policyholder apps.”
Agero’s announcement comes about a week after the debut of Uber’s Ride Check, a feature that uses the GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, and other sensors in smartphones to detect when a vehicle has been involved in a crash and automatically prompt riders to dial 911.
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