Underlining the societal benefits of connected cars, particularly for the disadvantaged, is the new report from SMMT. Penny Searles, CEO of Smartdriverclub, the connected car service for used cars said: “These findings really validate all the reasons I set up Smartdriverclub. However, the benefits of connectivity are only enjoyed right now by a small minority of motorists who can afford the newest cars on our roads. That’s just not fair.”
Searles continued: “Smartdriverclub gives connected benefits to the vast majority of motorists driving used cars with our services available direct or from a growing number of used car dealers. It’s important motorists understand that connected cars aren’t in the future for the privileged few – they are here and now.”
In a survey the SMMT found that new technology will offer freedom to some of society’s most disadvantaged people, including those with disabilities, older people and the young.
57% of people surveyed said the new technology would improve their quality of life. For young people, the impact could be even greater, with 71% of those aged 17-24 believing their lives would be improved.
There are around 37 million vehicles on the UK’s roads, 30 million of which have none of the accident alert, fault warnings and theft tracking capabilities of newer cars. But these motorists can ‘get connected’ without having to wait to upgrade their car with Smartdriverclub.
Smartdriverclub is a completely unique membership service that offers motorists greater protection both on the road and when managing their car’s running costs, through connectivity. Once a customer joins the club, as a member, they will be sent a small device - the Smartplug - which they insert in an easily accessed socket, normally underneath the steering column. They can then view all of their Smartdriverclub services via their smartphone using the free Smartdriverclub app called ‘Viewpoint’ or online via their laptop or tablet device.
Benefits include essential safety features like automatic emergency assistance, breakdown help that can see the driver’s location to find them faster, theft tracking that can speed up Police recovery and a digital mechanic that can identify faults to help motorists avoid worsening the damage or even prevent a breakdown.
Searles continued: “Like most people, I worry about my family and want to know they are safe when they’re on the road. If they were in an accident, I want to know that there would be no delay in emergency services being informed. If they broke down, I want to know that they’d be located by roadside recovery without unnecessary delay.
“Parents with teenagers who have recently taken to the roads will also value the peace of mind of the services they get with Smartdriverclub, like being able to see where their car is at any time, or being immediately informed in the case of a serious accident.
“But these benefits are just the tip of the iceberg – and they are here right now. Everyone is talking about connectivity as a future benefit – motorists need to understand they can take advantage of connectivity today without having to invest in a new car.”
Smartdriverclub comprises the following services in one package:
My Mechanic - This will alert a motorist if a car problem crops up, suggest what they can do about it and find a local dealer they can talk to. This includes TAX and MOT reminders.
Crash assistance - If the customer is in a collision and Smartdriverclub can’t reach the customer on their mobile phone, they will contact the emergency services and direct them to the location.
Stolen car - An in-car tracker activated by the customer means that if it’s stolen, the Police should know exactly where to look.
Breakdown help - Smartdriverclub will inform roadside assistance so they know where the customer is and have useful information about their car.
My driving - Motorists can save money on fuel costs by seeing how efficiently their car performs on each journey with a smart driving history that helps them manage fuel use.
My deals - Customers can save money on everything from servicing to new tyres. Just tap through the app for the latest deal from their dealership.
Value my car - Smartdriverclub provides a valuation of the customer’s car that’s actually based on their car so that they can use this instant price for better deals and finance.
Where did I park? - A handy little map is provided to those that have forgotten where they parked.
Business miles - Business drivers can accurately record their business vs personal miles and download the information directly into their expense forms, confident that it is validated information for mileage claims.
Club insurance - Preferential rates for good drivers based on their driving behaviour, to ensure customers are not paying for the poor behaviour of others.
Car WiFi optional - Family car journeys are always a challenge especially with teenagers in the back seat desperate to upload the latest selfie or to connect with their friends on chat. A connected road trip could also mean a blissful journey with everyone occupied in the car.