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T-Systems, Spearhead Partner to Add IoT to Car Insurance

Launched in Europe, the Digital Drive solution helps with claims management and enables insurers to offer new services to vehicle owners.
By Edson Perin
Feb 23, 2018

T-Systems, a German provider of IT solutions and services, and Spearhead, a Zurich-based startup, have announced that they have reduced to just one minute the several days that insurers typically require to analyze the vehicular damage incurred during motor vehicle accidents. The entire claim process is then digitized, from accident notification to damage documentation, including valuations and repair orders.

Digital claims management for insurers is the core element of the Digital Drive solution, T-Systems' connected car offering. The solution can offer connection functionality to new and used vehicles without requiring internet access, the company reports.

An insured vehicle is connected to a diagnostic interface by means of a plug. When an accident occurs, the insurer will immediately receive a full analysis, via a portal. At the same time, the repair costs are calculated in real time and a repair order can then be issued. In addition, documents requested from the vehicle's owner can be provided via the application.

The plug is a device that is connected to a car's OBD2 interface, which connects that vehicles to the platform and the cloud infrastructure, and uses the CAN bus to collect its information. The device contains an acceleration sensor and a GPS sensor, and employs mobile connectivity (GPRS) to connect to the back end and transfer the collected information.

The device begins operating as soon as it is connected to the vehicle's on-board diagnostics (OBD2) interface, where it receives power to operate; the device also has a backup battery. The system requests the operator's vehicle identification number (VIN), as well as the car's speed, mileage, battery condition, fuel status and diagnostic codes. While the engine is running, the device sends the collected information to the back-end system, along with the GPS position, every few seconds. After the engine is unplugged, the device uses its internal sensors to check if the car has suffered a collision. It then transmits an hourly update.

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