News: Automatic app coaches young drivers without spying on them

Mum and Dad will never know you went to that party without telling them ...

Automatic app for cars

EVERY PARENT likes to keep a watchful eye on their children, yet teenagers who are learning to drive or have recently passed their test would prefer Mum and Dad not to know when they’ve spent a day at the seaside with friends instead of attending maths revision classes.

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Now an app coming to Britain will monitor and coach new motorists, allowing protective parents to see their performance without giving away the driver’s location. It’s called License+, and its American developer says it is aimed at cutting the high accident rate among 17 to 24-year-old drivers.

Young drivers make up just 1.5% of UK licence holders but are involved in 12% of fatal and serious accidents. According to the road safety charity Brake, one in four 18 to 24-year-olds crashes within two years of passing their driving test.

License+ is a free addition to a gadget called Automatic, which costs $100 (£62) in America, and is designed to improve young and novice drivers’ techniques and increase their confidence on the road. Once the Automatic adaptor is plugged into a car’s diagnostic port, the 100-hour License+ programme gathers data from the on-board computer and sat nav, tracking acceleration, braking forces and cornering speeds. It sends the data to a smartphone or computer via Bluetooth and analyses it to offer hints on improving fuel efficiency and driving style.

Young drivers make up just 1.5% of UK licence holders but are involved in 12% of fatal and serious accidents

Users are rewarded with medals and badges for completing milestones, such as avoiding sharp braking and racking up 20 hours of smooth motorway driving.

Although parents and guardians can tap into the Automatic data on a laptop or handheld device, unlike other products currently available Licence+ does not divulge the driver’s whereabouts.

Licence+ is not currently available outside America but its developer plans to bring it to European countries in the coming months.

Automatic has a number of other useful features, as this video explains.