Progressive Tripsense

- 251 Words

So, my insurance company, Progressive Insurance, sent an e-mail to me a week or so ago offering me the chance to participate in a research program they’re offering called TripSense. Essentially they have you attach a small device to the On Board Diagnostic port (ODBII)that is installed in most cars 1994 and newer. Then you drive around like normal while this little bad boy records various bits about your driving habits. After 6 months, they ask you to upload the data to their site and they use it for supposedly anonymous research.

I ordered one (it’s free), but wasn’t sure if I was going to plug it in. Received it today and figured what the heck; the data is no good until I upload it anyway. It has a flashing green LED light that stays active while you drive — a good way to remind you that you’re being monitored BEFORE you spin donuts in the snow.

Anyway, I’ll leave it plugged in for a bit and see what I think. If it choose to upload the data, it works out to $100/year for participation… not a bad offset against my insurance costs, but I’m not sure if it’s worth sacrificing my privacy for it.

Other web musings on this include this general one on mnot’s site, and also this article at Electronic Design.

Update on Monday, January 9, 2006 I’ve been kicked from the TripSense program because my car is ineligible. Read the update article on this to learn more…