TORRANCE, CA – As part of GreenRoad’s unveiling of its GreenRoad Smartphone Edition, the company’s CEO and President Jim Heeger, and the company’s Senior Vice President of Customer Solutions Karen White, stopped by Bobit Business Media’s offices to demonstrate the new product and provide insights into some of the changes happening in the fleet industry’s use of mobile devices for fleet management.
The GreenRoad Smartphone Edition allows companies to use drivers’ cell phones as devices that detect harsh driving events rather than install a standalone “black box” or camera solution that accomplishes this.
“With GPS capability and accelerometer functionality, plus the power and flexibility of a sophisticated computer, the smartphone is poised to become an important platform for telematics applications,” said Jim Heeger, chief executive of GreenRoad.
GreenRoad’s Heeger started the meeting about the new product by presenting some statistics on fleets and how much attention companies are paying to driver skill improvement. He noted that currently most drivers don't receive a lot of support within an organization. Almost half don't receive a performance review. Less than 25 percent get driver training every six months or more.
To improve this situation, GreenRoad has focused on driver skill improvement, specifically on encouraging safe driving techniques, and its latest offering is the GreenRoad Smartphone Edition, which the company code named “Asimov.”
This smartphone app uses the device’s GPS and built-in accelerometers to detect how well the driver is driving. When a driver makes a risky or fuel-inefficient maneuver, the GreenRoad Smartphone Edition gives the driver audio and visual feedback on the smartphone’s screen. It shows a vehicle icon at the center of the device’s display and changes the color of the icon (from green to yellow to red), and surrounds it with rings that indicate the severity of a driving maneuver. The new smartphone app also includes a distracted driving prevention feature that can automatically disable physical use of the smartphone while it’s moving.
The company plans to launch the Smartphone Edition in Q4 2012 for smartphones with Android-based operating systems. The company plans to release an edition for the iPhone sometime in 2013. GreenRoad plans to offer the Smartphone Edition for $20 per month based on a three-year contract.
The GreenRoad Smartphone Edition works in conjunction with GreenRoad Central, a Web-based fleet management application that can show vehicle location and driving events. The company currently also offers a smartphone version of the GreenRoad Central app, which provides similar functionality to the web-based GreenRoad Central dashboard.
GreenRoad said one of the first companies to use the GreenRoad Smartphone Edition beta application is Edko, a vegetation management services provider in the U.S. that serves the utility, industrial, and municipal markets. GreenRoad stated that a group of Edko drivers began using the new app in August to improve safety and fuel efficiency.
“As a fleet that has decided to bet on Android for our drivers, we are impressed with what GreenRoad is doing.” said Jason Sellers, district manager at Edko. “We are definitely interested in the Asimov application rather than another standalone device that requires professional installation in our fleet vehicles.”
GreenRoad said its team of software engineers spent a year developing the Smartphone Edition, which presented a challenge due to the mobile nature of smartphones.
“Our biggest challenge in creating Asimov was dealing with the phone’s variable orientation in space. One of our key innovations was figuring out how to continuously calculate the phone’s orientation and automatically sync this with the precise event measurements generated from phone sensor data,” said vice president of product management, Amir Shoval.
GreenRoad’s Shovalpredicts that as smartphones continue to get smarter, GreenRoad driver performance software will continue to improve, the company stated.
“As state-of-the-art sensors continue to develop, and exciting new technologies like voice and gesture recognition are further refined, you will continue to see GreenRoad Smartphone Edition evolve and become even more compelling than it is today,” he said.
The company is currently offering a beta program for interested fleet operators. They can visit www.greenroad.com to contact a company representative, or call 1-888-658-4420, for more information.