US20100138244A1 - Recording and reporting of driving characteristics with privacy protection - Google Patents

Recording and reporting of driving characteristics with privacy protection Download PDF

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Publication number
US20100138244A1
US20100138244A1 US12/598,254 US59825408A US2010138244A1 US 20100138244 A1 US20100138244 A1 US 20100138244A1 US 59825408 A US59825408 A US 59825408A US 2010138244 A1 US2010138244 A1 US 2010138244A1
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vehicle
code
data
processor
operation characteristic
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US12/598,254
Inventor
Otman A. Basir
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Appy Risk Technologies Ltd
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Intelligent Mechatronic Systems Inc
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Priority to US91559207P priority Critical
Application filed by Intelligent Mechatronic Systems Inc filed Critical Intelligent Mechatronic Systems Inc
Priority to US12/598,254 priority patent/US20100138244A1/en
Priority to PCT/CA2008/000860 priority patent/WO2008134888A1/en
Assigned to INTELLIGENT MECHATRONIC SYSTEMS INC. reassignment INTELLIGENT MECHATRONIC SYSTEMS INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BASIR, OTMAN A.
Assigned to INTELLIGENT MECHATRONIC SYSTEMS INC. reassignment INTELLIGENT MECHATRONIC SYSTEMS INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: BASIR, OTMAN A.
Publication of US20100138244A1 publication Critical patent/US20100138244A1/en
Assigned to INFINITE POTENTIAL TECHNOLOGIES LP reassignment INFINITE POTENTIAL TECHNOLOGIES LP SECURITY AGREEMENT Assignors: INTELLIGENT MECHATRONIC SYSTEMS INC.
Assigned to INTELLIGENT MECHATRONIC SYSTEMS INC. reassignment INTELLIGENT MECHATRONIC SYSTEMS INC. RELEASE OF SECURITY INTEREST Assignors: INFINITE POTENTIAL TECHNOLOGIES LP,
Assigned to APPY RISK TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED reassignment APPY RISK TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: INTELLIGENT MECHATRONIC SYSTEMS INC.
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07CTIME OR ATTENDANCE REGISTERS; REGISTERING OR INDICATING THE WORKING OF MACHINES; GENERATING RANDOM NUMBERS; VOTING OR LOTTERY APPARATUS; ARRANGEMENTS, SYSTEMS OR APPARATUS FOR CHECKING NOT PROVIDED FOR ELSEWHERE
    • G07C5/00Registering or indicating the working of vehicles
    • G07C5/08Registering or indicating performance data other than driving, working, idle, or waiting time, with or without registering driving, working, idle or waiting time
    • G07C5/0841Registering performance data
    • G07C5/085Registering performance data using electronic data carriers
    • G07C5/0858Registering performance data using electronic data carriers wherein the data carrier is removable
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/04Forecasting or optimisation, e.g. linear programming, "travelling salesman problem" or "cutting stock problem"
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q40/00Finance; Insurance; Tax strategies; Processing of corporate or income taxes
    • G06Q40/08Insurance, e.g. risk analysis or pensions
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07CTIME OR ATTENDANCE REGISTERS; REGISTERING OR INDICATING THE WORKING OF MACHINES; GENERATING RANDOM NUMBERS; VOTING OR LOTTERY APPARATUS; ARRANGEMENTS, SYSTEMS OR APPARATUS FOR CHECKING NOT PROVIDED FOR ELSEWHERE
    • G07C5/00Registering or indicating the working of vehicles
    • G07C5/008Registering or indicating the working of vehicles communicating information to a remotely located station

Abstract

In a vehicle usage monitoring system, the privacy of the user is protected by performing some coding prior to sending the information from the user. Specific details of the user's driving history are converted to generalized codes that relate to insurance rates. Optionally, different types of vehicle information may be combined into generating the codes to be sent from the user in order to provide even more privacy. The codes may be used to calculate a vehicle insurance rate.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • This invention relates to a device and method for recording driving characteristics and diagnosing a condition of the device. More particularly, this invention relates to a method and device for recording driving characteristics utilized to monitor and compile vehicle usage data and diagnosing device condition for determining an insurance premium.
  • Some vehicle insurance currently determines price based upon information gathered by in-vehicle sensors that indicate where the vehicle was driven, how fast the vehicle was driven, times of day and days of the week, etc.
  • There are some concerns that the amount of detailed information that is given to the insurance companies with these types of systems intrudes on the privacy of the users.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In one example embodiment of the present invention, the privacy of the user is protected by performing some coding prior to sending the information from the user. Specific details of the user's driving history are converted to generalized codes that relate to insurance rates. Optionally, different types of vehicle information may be combined into generating the codes to be sent from the user in order to provide even more privacy.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of an example system and process for gathering vehicle usage data.
  • FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an example device for gathering and compiling vehicle usage data.
  • FIG. 3 is a block diagram of another example device gathering and compiling vehicle usage data.
  • FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of the risk-coding system and process used in the systems of FIGS. 1-3.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
  • Referring to FIG. 1, a schematic representation of the system 10 is shown and includes a cradle 14 for installation within a vehicle 12. The cradle 14 is installed within the vehicle 12 preferably in a location that is easily accessible yet not in plain view such as to cause an obstruction to the operator. Preferably, the cradle 14 will be installed underneath an instrument panel or within a glove compartment. The cradle 14 is attached and connected to receive power from a vehicle power source. Power from the vehicle can originate from a non-switched fuse box, OBD-II port, or other powered connection within the vehicle 12 as known.
  • A memory device provides for the extraction of data gathered and stored within the cradle 14. The memory device illustrated is a USB data key 16 that is insertable and removable from the cradle 14. The USB data key 16 receives information that is compiled from the cradle 14 for subsequent analysis. In the example embodiment, the USB data key 16 is removed and communicates with a personal computer 18. The vehicle user removes the USB data key 16 in response to a triggering event such as a lapse of time and downloads the information into the personal computer 18. The information is then transmitted via the Internet or other data communication link to a central server 22. The central server 22 interprets the information and generates summary 28 and usage reports 30.
  • The summary 28 may be reviewed by an operator 26 and insurance provider 24 and can contain any desired combination of information gathered by the cradle 14. The reports 30 for the insurance provider may include more directed and focused usage information directly focused for determining an insurance premium tailored to the specific operator 26. The data key 16 may also include a microprocessor 15 that enables separate execution of software instructions independent of a personal computer 18.
  • The data key 16 can include a code or other instructions that pairs the data key 16 with a specific vehicle 12 or with the specific cradle 14 disposed within the vehicle. The paired nature of the data key 16 to the cradle 14 provides for the prevention of unauthorized use or download of information from other data keys from other vehicles.
  • Data that is saved to the data key 16 is encrypted to prevent the unauthorized modification by a user or other individual. The encrypting is provided to prevent modification of any data stored on the data key 16 such that data stored on the data key 16 can be assured to be actual data indicative of vehicle operation. The data key 16 includes programming that provides information and programming that can discern whether the data key 16 is connected to the cradle 14 within the vehicle or that it is connected to a personal computer 18. If connected to a personal computer 18, programming and encryption prevent unauthorized manipulation of stored data.
  • FIG. 1 shows an example transmission method where the cradle 14 directly transmits by way of a wireless link 20 to the central server 22. This provides for the automatic transmission of data indicative of vehicle usage directly to the central server 22 without requiring operator intervention or action. Such a wireless transmission link streamlines data acquisition and processing at the central server 22. Further, automatic and direct transmission of vehicle usage information can substantially eliminate potential data integrity and verification issues that may arise with the involvement of the operator 26.
  • Another means for communicating information gathered by the cradle 14 to the central server 22 is through a Bluetooth connection 17 with a cellular communication device, such as for example a phone 19. The Bluetooth connection 17 between the phone 19 and the cradle 14 facilitates communication through a cellular phone network 21 to the central server 22. The phone 19 includes a resident program that directs the receipt and forwarding of data from the cradle 14 to the central server through the Bluetooth connection 17.
  • The wireless link may also include a connection by way of a local area WiFi link 25 as is known. The wireless link can include any known low frequency transmission format. Further, the path of the transmission may include other paths as are known, not simply those that are illustrated. As appreciated, many different wireless networks or methods of utilizing wireless networks can be utilized to upload vehicle operation data.
  • Referring to FIG. 2, the cradle 14 is shown schematically and includes a memory module 34, a power module 40, a location module 36 and a sensor module 44. Each of these modules is in communication with a microprocessor 32. The microprocessor 32 communicates with the various modules to receive data and other information as required.
  • The memory module 34 includes a volatile memory 52 and a non-volatile memory 54. Data is stored in the memory module 34 as directed by the microprocessor 32 until transmission to the central server 22.
  • The power module 40 is preferably connected to an always-on vehicle power source 56. Further, the power module includes a connection to an accessory power signal 58 that provides an indication that the vehicle ignition is on. The cradle 14 is powered by power from the vehicle 12. The power module 38 includes a rechargeable battery 40 for operation in circumstances where vehicle power is not provided to the cradle 14. This allows the cradle 14 to operate in some capacity when the vehicle power source is not properly providing power.
  • The power module 38 provides continuous main power from the vehicle's main battery source. In the disclosed example, power is accessed from a non-switched fuse panel, OBD-II or other vehicle power connection location. To ensure that during periods when power is disconnected, the rechargeable battery 40 is able to maintain system critical functionality. In other words, some power is always provided to the cradle 14 such that minimal functions can always be performed. As appreciated, although a rechargeable battery 40 is shown and described, standard non-rechargeable batteries are also within the contemplation for use in providing an alternate and independent power supply to the cradle 14.
  • The sensor module 44 includes an accelerometer 46 for determining an acceleration or deceleration of the vehicle 12. The accelerometer is preferably capable of measuring acceleration in three axes; however, any accelerometer known in the art is within the contemplation of this invention. Measuring acceleration provides a good indication of driving habits of the operator 26. Frequent hard braking and hard acceleration can be indicators of operator driving habits. Further, hard cornering is also detected by the accelerometer 46 and provides information indicative of an operator's driving habits.
  • A real time clock 50 provides the time for several purposes including providing a determination of the time of day in which the vehicle is operating. The clock 50 allows the determination of trends of vehicle usage. Further, the clock 50 is utilized to determined the amount of time the vehicle is used, per-day and over the enter data acquisition period.
  • The vibration sensor 48 provides an indication as to whether the vehicle is moving or not in the absence of power from the vehicle itself. This provides a validation function to determine if the lack of power from the vehicle is truly indicative of the vehicle not operating or if the vehicle is moving without powering the cradle 14.
  • The localization module 36 includes an antenna 35 and a global positioning system module 37. The antenna 35 receives signals from satellites to determine a location of the cradle 14, and thereby the vehicle with regard to a specific longitude and latitude. The position information provides for the determination of the places in which the vehicle is being utilized. Positional information provides for the determination of several valuable types of information including time within a specific geographic region in which a vehicle is operating. Further, the location module provides information that is utilized to determine how much time a vehicle is used within a specific defined region such as a postal code, city or town limit. The system may even provide information as to the type of road the vehicle is used on, for example surface streets or on an expressway.
  • The GPS module 37 also provides an alternate means of gathering vehicle acceleration information in the absence of data from the accelerometer. The positional information provided by the GPS module 37 over time provides for the determination of vehicle acceleration in two axes in the event that the sensor module 44 and thereby information from the accelerometer 46 is not available. Additionally, acquisition of time measurements can be facilitated through the GPS module 37 in the event that communication with the real time clock 50 is not available.
  • The Bluetooth connection 17 is alternatively utilized in concert with the GPS module 37 to provide a means of remotely obtaining location information of the vehicle. The central server 22 can call the phone 19 associated with the cradle 14 and upload location information obtained by the GPS module 37. The upload of location information can be triggered remotely by the central server 22 by contacting the phone 19 that in turn through the Bluetooth 17 link will obtain information on the location of the vehicle. This information is then communicated back over the cellular connection 21 to the central server 22. Further, the communication between the phone 19, the central server 22 and the cradle 14 provides for real-time location and tracking of a vehicle. The real-time tracking can be triggered according to a desired schedule, or in response to a specific triggering event.
  • Further, the resident program within the phone 19 can be utilized to periodically trigger communication as desired to provide an alternate method of uploading information from the cradle 14 to the central server 22. An operator can be provided with the option to accept or reject communication. Such communication can also be delayed to provide for operation of the phone by the operator as desired. As appreciated, many different triggering events and schedules can be instituted utilizing the Bluetooth communication link 17 to provide desired data on vehicle operation and location.
  • The cradle 14 includes instructions that are utilized in the event of a blackout of the OPS system. As appreciated, some areas or other conditions may be blacked out from GPS signals required to determine a position. An example embodiment includes provisions for compensating for such blackouts. During such a blackout the cradle utilizes the last known GPS position along with speed and direction data gathered from other system to determine a general location. The general location determined independent of the GPS system is not as accurate, but can provide information as to the general geographic location. The general geographic location is determined from the available vehicle information that is indicative of vehicle direction and speed. As appreciated, such a system can be utilized when the geographic nature of the area such as a tunnel or mountains prevent a clear OPS signal.
  • Further, the vehicle speed and direction information can be utilized in conjunction with the next GPS signal such that the path of the vehicle 12 can be orientated utilizing the two separate GPS signals along with the intervening information indicative of vehicle speed and direction.
  • The cradle 14 includes a data extraction module 42 for the transmission and removal of data from the cradle 14. The example data extraction module 42 includes a USB port 45 for communication with a removable data storage device such as the USE key 16. The example data extraction module 42 may also comprise a wireless transmission device for sending a transmission to a receiver station and subsequently to the central server 22.
  • The wireless communication can include a wireless USB, an infrared signal or other known wireless transmission device. The data extraction module 42 may also include a carrier based wireless transmission device. The example data extraction module 42 communicates with a WiFi module 25 for communicating information to a WiFi network. Further, the data extraction module 42 can include a peer-to-peer wireless transmission where an intermediate receiver station receives the peer-to-pear communication and passes it onto the central server 22 by a wireless or wired connection. The data extraction module 42 is also in communication with a Bluetooth module 17 for communicating with other Bluetooth enabled devices. Further, communication can then be enabled through a Bluetooth device such as the phone 19 through a cellular communications network 21.
  • The data extraction module 42 may also comprise a data modem transmission device that is attachable to a download station. The data extraction module 42 would comprise in such an embodiment a serial or other connection interface for attachment to a modem or other known connection or port.
  • Referring to FIG. 3, another example cradle 14A includes a data extraction module 42A with only the USB port 45. The USB port 45 can accept various modules along with the data key 16. The various modules can include a WiFi module 64, a Bluetooth module 62 and a general packet radio signal (GPRS module 60. A user determines the method of transmitting or uploading data by the type of module plugged into the USB port 45. Accordingly, plugging in the GPRS module 60 provides for the transmission of data through an applicable wireless link. Similarly, the Bluetooth module 62 and WiFi modules 64 plugged into the USB ports 45 provide different wireless links for receiving and uploading data.
  • Once data has been extracted from the cradle 14 it may be viewable through the personal computer 18. Typically, viewing on a personal computer 18 is accomplished by utilizing the data key 16. The information once downloaded from the data key 16 via the personal computer 18 could then be transmitted to the central server 22 where the data could be compiled for viewing and a determination of insurance premiums. Further, initial viewing of information on the personal computer 18 would afford a user an opportunity to review the data prior to submission to an insurance provider. The operator could then determine if the data is indicative of actual vehicle usage and if submission of the data would be beneficial to the user for reducing insurance premiums.
  • Another use of the gathered data by a user at the personal computer 18 is to analyze vehicle operating parameters and performance such as fuel mileage, performance, braking operation and driving performance. As appreciated, the fuel mileage is easily determined by providing information indicative of current and actual fuel levels 14. This information can be utilized by an operator or fleet manager to determine and monitor operation of the vehicle.
  • In the example embodiment, data is extracted from the cradle 14 and transmitted to the central server 22 by way of the USB key 16 and personal computer 18. Once the data is extracted and transmitted to the central server 22, this data can be consolidated into reports and summaries for the user and insurance provider.
  • During normal operation the localization module 36 provides vehicle position in longitude and latitude. The vehicle position is utilized to determine vehicle heading, speed and other information indicative of a vehicle position. Further, combination of the known longitude and latitude of the vehicle with geographic divisions such as postal codes, zip codes, governmental division such as cities or towns can be utilized to determine the amount of usage of a vehicle within a given area. As is appreciated insurance premiums are based in large part on the actual time, location and operation of the vehicle.
  • The use of the localization module 36 provides a means for gathering meaningful data on the time, position and operating location of a vehicle. The operational position of a vehicle can be correlated with geographic limits to determine a time in each of the divisions.
  • For the embodiments of FIG. 2 or 3, the vehicle operation characteristics are gathered and sent as shown in FIG. 4. Generally, the risk-coding algorithm 70 receives the vehicle information, such as vehicle location (as determined by GPS or other sensors, such as by the cell towers triangulating the location of the mobile device 19), vehicle speed, current speed limit (as determined for the current vehicle location from a map database of speed limits), time of day, day of the week, hard accelerations (including hard braking), etc. The risk-coding algorithm 70 could be performed on the server 22 (after which, the underlying data is discarded), on the cradle 14 or in the user's computer 18 prior to transmission to the server 22.
  • A risk map database 72 includes risk ratings for a plurality of geographical areas (e.g. zip codes). The risk map database 72 may include more than one risk rating for each geographical area, such that different risk ratings are applicable for different times of day or days of the week. The risk rating mapping is many to one, meaning that many different geographical areas will have the same risk rating.
  • In a simplest example, the risk code generated by the risk-coding algorithm could be based solely on time spent in each geographical area and the associated risk ratings for those geographical areas. The risk code could be simply an indication of how much time (or what times of day) the vehicle was in areas of certain risk ratings. For example, the risk code could indicate that the vehicle was in a zone of risk rating 4 between 4:00 and 5:00, in a zone of risk rating 10 between 5:00 and 5:35, and in a zone of risk rating 1 between 5:35 and 6:00. This resultant risk code information could be used by the insurance company to determine insurance rates, while preserving some privacy for the user. Because the risk ratings are many-to-one, it is not possible to determine exactly where the user was during these times.
  • In another example, additional information, such as speed (or speed as compared to current speed limit), time of day, day of the week, hard acceleration information, etc. could all be input into the risk-coding algorithm 70. The durations of each condition affecting insurance cost are also used in the risk-coding algorithm 70. The resultant risk code output is simply an associated insurance cost factor. The insurance cost charged to the user for the vehicle is then determined by the server 22 as a function of the risk code and optionally any other permanent information stored on the server 22 (such as the user's age, the type of vehicle, the user's driving record. etc). By combining several different types of information in the risk-coding algorithm 70 prior to sending the risk code to the server 22 (or, if calculated on the server 22, prior to storing on the server 22 and discarding the underlying data), the specific information that may intrude on the user's privacy is obscured.
  • In accordance with the provisions of the patent statutes and jurisprudence, exemplary configurations described above are considered to represent a preferred embodiment of the invention. However, it should be noted that the invention can be practiced otherwise than as specifically illustrated and described without departing from its spirit or scope. Alphanumeric identifiers for steps in method claims are for ease of reference in dependent claims and do not signify a required sequence unless otherwise stated.

Claims (15)

1. A method of recording vehicle usage comprising the steps of:
a) sensing data indicative of at least one vehicle operation characteristic, including a location of the vehicle;
b) generating at least one code based upon the at least one vehicle operation characteristic; and
c) determining an insurance cost based upon the at least one code.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein step c) is performed without reference to the data.
3. The method of claim 1 further including the step of transmitting the at least one code to a server without transmitting the data or the at least one vehicle operation characteristic, and wherein said step c) is performed by the server.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein the at least one code is a risk code based upon the location of the vehicle.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein the at least one code is a risk code based upon the at least one vehicle operation characteristic and wherein the at least one vehicle operation characteristic includes a plurality of vehicle operation characteristics.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein the at least one code at least partially obscures the at least one vehicle operation characteristic to protect privacy of a user of the vehicle.
7. The method of claim 1 wherein the risk code is a geographic code.
8. A system for gathering vehicle usage data for use in determining vehicle insurance cost comprising:
at least one sensor for determining at least one vehicle operation characteristic of the vehicle;
at least one processor generating at least one code based upon the at least one vehicle operation characteristic; and
the at least one processor determining an insurance cost based upon the at least one code.
9. The system of claim 8, wherein the at least one processor includes a first processor generating the at least one code and a second processor determining the insurance cost at a location remote from the first processor.
10. The system of claim 9 wherein the first processor is on the vehicle.
11. The system of claim 10 wherein the first processor transmits the at least one code, but not the data or the at least one vehicle operation characteristic, to the second processor.
12. The system of claim 8 wherein the at least one processor is on a server remote from the vehicle and wherein the server discards the at least one vehicle operation characteristic after generating the code.
13. The system of claim 8 wherein the at least one sensor includes a GPS receiver.
14. The system of claim 8 wherein the at least one sensor includes a cell transceiver device.
15. The system of claim 8 further including a geographic risk code map, wherein a plurality of noncontiguous geographic areas have a same risk code associated therewith.
US12/598,254 2007-05-02 2008-05-02 Recording and reporting of driving characteristics with privacy protection Pending US20100138244A1 (en)

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PCT/CA2008/000860 WO2008134888A1 (en) 2007-05-02 2008-05-02 Recording and reporting of driving characteristics with privacy protection

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