Life360, a social network geared toward family members, has partnered with driving safety and analytics app Zendrive and created a driver safety feature that is now available to the 55 million families that use Life360.
Called Driver Protect, the app will notify your family members, a rapid response team and the authorities as soon as the phone detects that a Life360 user is involved in an accident.
“It’s the difference between getting help within five minutes and 15 minutes,” Zendrive CEO Jonathan Matus told Recode.
The feature — which was made available to 50,000 users in May as part of a beta program — works a lot like GM’s OnStar system, except for two main differences.
One, Zendrive’s technology leverages things like the accelerometer and the gyroscope already in phones to automatically detect when there’s an accident. As soon as the app detects what could be a crash, a rapid response team calls the driver. Two, since it’s available through an app, anyone can use it — even if they don’t have a GM vehicle.
Using Zendrive’s technology, Driver Protect also allows parents to get driving reports on their teen drivers and provides a driving-history report immediately after. As part of the partnership, Zendrive receives a fee from the $7.99 monthly subscription price for the emergency response aspect of Driver Protect.
But the real opportunities from the partnership, according to Life360 co-founder and president Alex Haro, come when the two companies begin to use the information gathered to create a more mainstream model for usage-based insurance.
In other words, they would use those millions of miles of driving data to help insurance companies determine what to charge people based on the miles they’ve driven and how they’ve driven those miles. So far, pay-per-mile insurance companies like Metromile have only dabbled in the space at a small scale.
It’s an insurance model that could come in handy in the age of self-driving cars since today’s car insurance model is based on how likely it is the person will either get into an accident or file a claim. When there are no drivers, that method is no longer relevant.
The more data companies like Zendrive and Life360 have on driving behavior, the more accurately they can price and determine insurance costs.
The partnership will also give Zendrive the scale to pursue some of its long-term ambitions to provide its trove of data to companies developing self-driving cars.
To that end, Zendrive — which has raised a total of $15 million from a number of key investors like BMW i Ventures, Fontinalis Partners, Sherpa Capital and First Round — is also announcing that the company has gathered and analyzed one billion miles of driving data through its partnership with commercial fleets.
Put in context, Tesla so far has gathered 222 million miles driven in Autopilot mode and Google has two billion miles of fully self-driving experience. However, it’s important to remember the data and information that a company can derive from manually, semi-autonomously and fully autonomously driven miles are very different.
But Haro said he expects that number to scale quickly.
“We’ve already seen through our own data, before we even launched this new feature, [that] our users were driving about 3.5 billion miles a month,” Haro said. “So now we can take this new, cool technology and apply it to a much bigger user base that has billions of miles driven every single month.”