Phone App Notifies Family and Authorities if It Detects an Accident

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.


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