Telematics: could the Toyota “sticky accelerator” lead to a new business model?

Telematics: could the Toyota “sticky accelerator” lead to a new business model?

Today’s New York Times has an Op-ed piece by Robin Chase, the founder and former chief executive of Zipcar. Mr. Chase puts forth the proposition that a simple solution to getting out ahead of potential safety issues such as the current Toyota accelerator problem is real-time access to vehicles’ “black boxes” via wireless applications. In the Op-ed piece, he states: “Aberrant engine and driving behavior would leap out of the carmakers’ now-large data set, allowing them, if necessary, to conduct recalls much earlier. And, in exchange for your contribution of anonymous data, carmakers could send you driving benchmarks aggregated from your peers…”. As I and others have presented multiple times at various Telematics Update conferences over the past ten years or so, there are various incentives that could be offered to the vehicles’ owners in exchange for anonymous access to this data. The cost to the automotive OEM for the telematics device and service that would be used to gather this data would be justified by savings related to reduced warranty and potential recalls costs. Additionally, the telematics solution would then be resident in the vehicle, ready for use as a platform to up-sell consumers services like crash notification and remote door unlocking, as well as creating partnering opportunities for potential new revenue streams such as Pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) insurance. Car guys need to start thinking about telematics as more than safety, security, and navigation, but as being a tool for transformative business model improvement.


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