Business modelling

A leading vehicle manufacturer came to SBD looking to explore whether existing technologies could be used to encourage safer driving


Approximately 1.2 million people die in road traffic accidents around the world each year, putting increasing pressure on vehicle manufacturers to play their part in making driving safer. 

While the move to active safety has been successful, ADAS is typically only effective when a collision is less than two seconds away. Aware of this limitation, the company came to SBD to identify whether existing technologies could be used to encourage human drivers to adopt safer driving behavior.

Key questions included:
  • What does ‘safer driving’ actually mean?
  • Is there a viable method for measuring driver behavior?
  • How would feedback be communicated to drivers?
  • Would ‘safer driving’ significantly reduce the risk of accidents?
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The process

Define ‘safer driving’

We interviewed fleet operators, accident recovery companies and pressure groups in the non-profit sector to understand the most common driver behaviors that lead to accidents. Driving too fast, mobile phone use and poor hazard perception were among the most common characteristics of ‘dangerous driving’.

Identify a viable method

There was no doubt that factors such as speed, breaking frequency and other indicators of dangerous driving could act as indicators of high risk behavior. The usage-based insurance sector was already using telematics technology to measure risk based on these factors and then reward (or penalize) their customers. While there were lessons to be learnt, we concluded that ‘carrot or stick?’ was not the most effective approach.

Offer an incentive

The company wanted a system that would record driving behavior and reward safe driving. Our Autonomous Car specialists helped the company identify unique ways of communicating feedback in a fun way, without distracting drivers’ attention while driving. The aim was to create a connection between safer driving and something enjoyable. Our specialists worked closely with the company to explore options for monetizing the system.

What we found

  • The company achieved a clear picture of how telematics could be used to influence driving behavior, although our experts concluded that there was no strong business case for doing so. Many companies had tried unsuccessfully to influence driver behavior using app-based systems
  • The system would need to be operational on a massive scale to become profitable, requiring a substantial long-term investment with no clear return
  • Our experts recommended the manufacturer take a more holistic approach. While installing an app was unlikely to change years of unsafe driving behavior, there was an opportunity to use technology to provide a support system for driving schools, making the system a normal part of the driving experience. Our technology specialists also highlighted the potential to integrate a similar system in to existing ADAS.