In-car coach for new drivers raises the bar on safety and costs as little as $11 a week
Sydney, December 19, 2011: Mercurien Limited, the Sydney-based road transaction software company, today announced a major advancement in driver safety with the launch of BetterDriverTM a GPS-based system tailored for new drivers and their parents.
The Mercurien BetterDriverTM service uses GPS and motion detection technology to help new drivers know when they are driving in a manner that puts them at risk, delivering immediate, non-disruptive audio-feedback on hard cornering, hard acceleration, hard braking or erratic lane-changing.
“We have designed BetterDriver specifically for P-plate drivers who are most at risk in the first year of driving,” said Mercurien CEO Michael Graham. “The number of casualty crashes per month spikes in the first year of people holding a P-plate license increasing dramatically from the learner driver phase where a licensed driver is present in the vehicle.”
Mercurien’s BetterDriverTM system consists of a Skymeter unit powered by the car’s electrical system. The iPhone sized unit has two major functions: In the first instance, it is a highly accurate GPS transmitter as well as containing a sensitive ‘accelerometer’ function that monitors the rate of change of the vehicle’s movement.
In the event of hard braking, cornering, acceleration or lane changing, the unit emits a clear but non-disruptive audio signal to alert the driver. The audio signals are graded to represent the severity of any at-risk actions, so people can adjust their driving actions.
Graham said the GPS device also links to a password-protected, individual website for each vehicle that allows drivers and their families to revisit each trip to assess how safely the vehicle has been driven in past journeys, be it an hour, day or month ago.
“The BetterDriverTM individual websites show the route the vehicle has taken, time, distance and the manner in which the vehicle has been driven. As well as illustrating any at-risk actions, the system also reports an eco score that identifies if the vehicle has been driven in a manner that minimises green house gas emissions,” said Graham.
In regard to getting this innovative system on the road, BetterDriverTM is currently in advanced testing with one of Australia’s largest motoring organisations and will move to a full launch phase in the first two months of 2012. It is expected that the BetterDriverTM system would go to market for about $11 a week per vehicle for 12 months, plus a $100 refundable deposit.
“BetterDriverTM will cost less than many people spend on takeaway coffee a week,” said Graham. “We believe the system will be a major aid for young drivers as they practice their driving skills. They can receive both live-time feedback from the in-car system as well as review their trips on the internet using their own password- protected sites.”