Data science. Two words that for most of us, conjure images of rows of numbers, beakers, and lab coats.
Or that statistics class you snoozed through as part of your business major. Or how organic chemistry convinced you “Well, maybe I don’t want to be pre-med after all.”
But for the data science team at HiRoad, this field is the key to recognizing and rewarding mindful living, and is one of the reasons they’re excited to come to work in the morning! But before we get into how data science works for you at HiRoad, let’s have a quick overview of what data science is in the first place.
Data Science and Machine Learning
Data science is the practice of combining math, computer science, and domain expertise to create products that fundamentally rely on data. One aspect is artificial intelligence, or AI, “Training a computer to imitate intelligent human behavior.” (For example, self-driving cars taking in camera and radar information to follow rules of the road.).
Another aspect is machine learning. Machine learning is “using patterns in historical data to better understand future data.” (For example, identifying the cat pictures among a giant set of animal pictures.)
Data science at HiRoad: helping customer, community, and company
At HiRoad, we are using data science to reward mindful driving. We used massive historical datasets to identify traits of safe and unsafe driving. We created individual traits of each person such as acceleration, braking, and cornering, and more lifestyle-related traits such as late-night driving and total driving time. We then trained machine learning algorithms to learn how to determine each customers’ mindfulness based on those traits.
Since our safe driving discount is based on this data science model, you can earn up to 50% off your base rate based on how you drive.
Our app logs driving data from each trip and sends that information to our servers for scoring. The data science model determines how similar your driving is to other good drivers and determines how much of a discount you earn each month. By rewarding mindful driving, we hope to reduce accidents, decrease traffic, and lower rates since our customers should be involved in fewer incidents.
Currently the HiRoad app shows your different driving scores (like smooth braking) and how these scores affect your monthly bill. Each month, your scores reset according to the previous month’s results.
What we’re working on next with data science is being able to offer personalized tips that give you the most relevant ways to drive more mindfully and lower your bill. For example, if you are smooth with the brakes, but tend to speed a lot, you will see tips in your app related to safe speeds. Let’s say your neighbor, on the other hand, drives at safe speeds, but tends to slam on the brakes a lot. They will get the tips about braking. As we continue to develop our models and get to know you better, we hope to keep making the system smarter to cover even more aspects of good driving, from tips related to current weather conditions to avoiding distraction.
Stay tuned and share your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.