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Telematics Data Don't Lie (But They Do Differ)

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Aug. 14, 2020—You might recall ADAPT’s June 30 report from a SEMA web event on ADAS. One of the big challenges faced by the aftermarket was the lack of standardization of the names, uses and specifications of ADAS components and systems.

That means that the same part for two different automakers’ ADAS systems might go by different names, making parts sourcing more difficult for repairers.

A similar challenge exists in the telematics world. Adam Hudson, GM and VP of the connected car team at LexisNexis, says that each OE has its own data spec. LexisNexis is looking to make sense of it all and become a hub for all that telematics data for use by insurance carriers.

“The value that we bring, in part, is providing the connection to these automakers,” he says.

To that end, the company has launched Telematics OnDemand, which is meant to integrate telematics data into insurer rating and underwriting workflows, according to a press release. It’s part of a growing usage-based insurance movement that’s bringing individualized data and more automation to the car insurance landscape.

In order to provide seamless data to carriers, LexisNexis has to wade into the data streams of multiple OE partners and make sure insurers can rely on, say, Mitsubishi driver data just the same as Nissan driver data. Provide a “common language,” Hudson says.

In an interview with ADAPT, Hudson explains one way that the data presents challenges.


Take a Pulse; Record an Event

OEs don’t coordinate on how they collect telematics data in their vehicles. Each automaker figures out the best strategy for itself. LexisNexis is looking to be the organizer.

“What it comes down to is how that data is reported back to us and, in a sense, how it’s collected at the vehicle level,” Hudson says.

Two ways that data can be transmitted are pulse-based and event-based.

Pulse-based data transmission is always running, sending updates every so often. Think of it as a heartbeat or how your GPS unit follows and updates your coordinates in near-real time.

“Constantly pinging, constantly collecting data,” Hudson says. “Now, in contrast to that, we see a data format of what we’d call event-based data.”

Event-based data isn’t transmitting information all the time. Rather, it’s when the driver slams on the brakes or gets into a crash. Certain activities can trigger the vehicle to record that event to indicate driving habits.

A really safe driver with a vehicle that has event-based data transmission might only register two events during a trip: turning the vehicle on and off.

Whether or not event-based transmission is a full enough data picture for insurers is up to the carrier. But it might be more efficient than pulse-based transmission, which is constantly sending data and potentially eating up battery life or bandwidth costs.

“The struggle that a lot of OEs see is trying to optimize their spend with their wireless carriers,” Hudson says.

Part of LexisNexis’ challenge is to look at driving habits in both pulse and event-based vehicles and make them similarly usable for insurance carriers.

LexisNexis’ Telematics Exchange platform includes General Motors, Mitsubishi Motors North America and Nissan North America, and Hudson says they’re looking to add more.

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