GreenRoads logoGreenRoad, a maker of car gadgets that tell drivers when they are driving unsafely, launches today.

Called the SafetyCenter, the hardware is installed in the car, and communicates with the driver via three small lights — ranging from green, which means safe, to red for unsafe maneuvers. The driving information is also collected online for later review

GreenRoad’s technology is part of a growing market that is aimed at keeping insurance and fuel rates down for companies with lots of drivers — for example, service fleets and transportation firms. While competitors DriveCam and SmartDrive both use video cameras installed in vehicles and reviewed by humans, GreenRoad uses accelerometers that can sense the vehicle’s motions.

GreenRoads gadget The company aims to be less intrusive and cheaper than video monitoring. At $30 per month, GreenRoad comes in at about half the cost of its competitors. Initial testing shows that it reduces crashes by about half, and fuel costs by seven percent. By comparison, DriveCam customers typically lower accident rates by 40 to 60 percent, according to case studies on the company’s website. All of the companies can potentially lower insurance rates and other costs associated with crashes.

DriveCam and SmartDrive are currently installed in about 100,000 vehicles. GreenRoad, as Drive Diagnostics, has so far been installed in about 1000 vehicles among their 12 clients, which includes T-Mobile’s service fleet.

As part of its re-launch, GreenRoad has also moved its headquarters from Israel to Redwood Shores, Calif., and taken on a new management team. The CEO, Dan Steere, was previously entrepreneur-in-residence at Benchmark Capital, which led the investing in the company. The two founders, Ofer Raz and Hod Fleishman, are staying on as CTO and senior vice president of business development, respectively.

The move and new team were funded by an investment for an undisclosed amount from Benchmark and Benchmark Europe, now known as Balderton Capital.

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