Novatel accelerometer checks how you drive

Improved features for tracking has privacy issues, but also advantages

Novatel Wireless' latest device for vehicle tracking can be self-installed and has an accelerometer and GPS combo that can keep a close eye on driving habits.

The machine-to-machine sector is growing on many fronts, including applications such as fleet management, usage-based insurance and driver behavior management. These are trends that Novatel hopes to take advantage of with the introduction of the MT 3060.

The integrated accelerometer and GPS, along with features for impact detection, allows the device to detect vehicle speed, location, hard braking, cornering and acceleration. The device can also monitor the health of the car's battery.

Drivers can install the MT 3060 instead of having to pay for a professional to do the job, according to the company.

It measures 63.5 x 48 x 25 millimeters and can receive updates via a number of different mobile networks, including ones using HSDPA.

But with great power come great responsibility, and the use of products like the MT 3060 come with potential privacy issues.

For example, usage-based or pay-as-you-drive insurance plans -- where premiums are based on driving habits -- pose a potential privacy risk for motorists, a study conducted by the University of Denver found.

The authors of the study argue that customer privacy expectations need to be reset even if GPS isn't used, and new policies need to be implemented to inform customers of possible risks, they said.

At the same time, the plans offer several advantages to insurers as well as consumers. Insurers can offer more accurate pricing to consumers based on their driving habits, which increases affordability for safe drivers, and motivates others to adopt safer driving habits, according to the study.

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