SoftBank pours $500m into Cambridge Mobile Telematics
CMT emerged in 2010 from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab. The US company says its products are used in more than 20 countries to help measure driving performance to inform the pricing of auto insurance plans, provide incentives to drivers to operate vehicles more safely, and to automate some tasks in insurance claims processing.
Those products include software that uses smartphone sensors to measure distracted driving and gather other data that can be used in insurance pricing, and tools that use gamification techniques to encourage better driving.
CMT also sells connected devices that get installed in vehicles and can send out real-time alerts when a crash occurs, and can measure vehicle performance for actuarial scoring. CMT’s customers include insurers, wireless carriers, and managers of vehicle fleets.
CMT’s products have “helped make roads safer by making drivers better in a world where crashes are rising due to factors like distracted driving,” says Hari Balakrishnan, CMT’s chairman, chief technology officer and co-founder.
The company says it will use the new capital to further develop its products and pick up more customers.
CMT is part of a shift toward “usage-based” auto insurance that prices premiums based on how people drive. The idea is to track driver behaviour more accurately using smartphones and other connected devices, and encourage safer driving, which will ideally reduce accidents and lower insurance premiums. Other start-ups in this sector include TrueMotion (formerly known as Censio), also located in the Boston area.