Drivecam Video Monitoring Examined

By John Honovich, Published Mar 31, 2011, 08:00pm EDT

In this note we overview DriveCam [link no longer available], a US based company that seeks to provide an end to end driver safety solution for fleet vehicle owners and families with teen drivers. In business for 13 years, DriveCam is essentially a behavior modification tool designed to promote good driving habits by identifying and recording 'risky' driving characteristics like excessive speed, hard braking, aggressive turning, etc. Recorded data (with video clips) is then used as an aid for coaching drivers on eliminating their 'risky' driving behaviors.

NOTE: While surveillance cameras are utilized (short clips are retained for times surrounding 'risky' incidents), it must be noted that DriveCam's video analytics should not be confused with other products in either the mobile physical security space, or the video analytics market. The term video analytics, as used by DriveCam, refers simply to using video clips to see what happened when risky driving generates an event, as video is only captured when risky driving occurs.

The DriveCam is an IMU-based device (Inertial Measurement Unit) that uses accelerometers, gyroscopes and GPS to determine speed, orientation, gravitational force and changes in rotational characteristics (pitch, roll, etc) caused by speeding, abrupt movements and sharp or aggressive turning. The device has both forward-facing and rear-facing cameras and mounts to the underside of the vehicles rear view mirror. To reinforce good driving behavior, the unit displays a green light that will start to flash red when any of the pre-determined 'risky' driving behavior occurs.

In both of DriveCams target markets, pricing is essentially the same. Each unit costs approximately $500USD and requires a $30 per month subscription fee. This monthly fee gives subscribers access to Drivecams two main services:

  • Drivecam Online: A web-based dashboard tool that allows subscribers to access a series of reports relating to trends and long-term performance progress of drivers. Comparative analysis of driver data can then be used in an effort to coach lower performing drivers in identifying and eliminating their 'risky' driving behaviors.
  • RiskPredict: A proprietary analysis and summary of collected data, including video, which gives subscribers the ability to quickly evaluate the driving characteristics of individual drivers. The analysis is accomplished by first comparing driver-triggered events against what DriveCam calls "The largest database of risky driving in the world from over 3 billion miles of monitored driving", and then offering suggestions for increased compliance with best practice driving methods.

Additionally, DriveCam recently added Fleet Tracking and Fuel Monitoring as optional services and plan to add additional value-added products based on data generated by the device.

DriveCam reports an 87% increase in order growth in 2010 [link no longer available], a 4 year annual compound growth rate of 96%, and currently have approximately 150K units installed (with only about 10K in private vehicles).

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