When parents hand over the car keys and a newly licensed teen driver hits the streets by themselves, they might worry: Is the driver obeying traffic laws? Did they get to a friend's house in one piece?
This is where the Truvolo app hopes to come into play, as it notes more than 77 percent of parents worry about teens speeding and 73 percent are concerned about texting while driving.
Drivers are rated with a safe driving score through the app. (Image source: Truvolo/Indiegogo)
The app, which is still a concept design raising funds through the crowd-funding site Indiegogo, monitors various car stats to not only keep tabs on drivers but it also tracks how well the vehicle is performing and maintenance issues. Data is drawn from the on-board diagnostics port, which appears in all cars sold in the U.S. since 1996.
A Truvolo device hooks up with the car's data port and then sends information to a smartphone app. (Image source: Truvolo/Vimeo)
"We enhance the car ownership experience by making you smarter about your car, providing trusted data that can increase safety, while reducing annual maintenance costs," the app creators described on Indiegogo. "Our mobile platform provides smart alerts and reports via an app to track auto and driver performance, bringing you peace of mind whether you're behind the wheel or not."
The app creator noted in a promotional video that these diagnostics can be collected in most cars anyway, but the Truvolo device-app combination would give car owners more access to the information.
The idea of this app comes shortly after Ford Vice President Jim Farley revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show last week just how much data the company collects from its vehicles.
"We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you're doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you're doing. By the way, we don't supply that data to anyone," Farley said, according to Business Insider.
With privacy advocates responding negatively to these words, Farley backtracked the next day, saying he believes he gave the "wrong impressing" about Ford's data collection.
"I absolutely left the wrong impression about how Ford operates. We do not track our customers in their cars without their approval or their consent," he said, according to a separate post by Business Insider. "The statement I made in my eyes was hypothetical and I want to clear this up."
The app also keeps track of maintenance and provides alerts when work might be needed. (Image source: Truvolo/Indiegogo)
The Truvolo app's website says it collects:
(a) information about your vehicle’s internal systems and sensors, (b) activity and location of your vehicle’s driver, (c) data about vehicle maintenance, information, geo location and operation, including speed, battery levels, diagnostic trouble codes (DTC), (d) information about your use of the Truvolo App and (e) identification details of your mobile device.
The app also explained who it might disclose information to (emphasis added):
Truvolo may access and/or disclose your Personal Information to law enforcement officials, regulatory agencies or other third parties as we, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate in connection with an investigation of illegal activity that may expose us to legal liability or costs, to enforce our policies governing the Site and for regulatory compliance.
In addition to driver performance tracking, the creators emphasized its use in vehicle maintenance as well.
"A recent survey shows 75 [percent] of car owners use the sticker on the windshield to track routine scheduled maintenance. Furthermore, many car owners rely solely on the word of their mechanic when a check engine light or other problem arises. Truvolo is putting the power of car maintenance into the hands of car owners," the app creators wrote.
Watch this video to learn more about how the app works:
Shipments for those signing up to help fund the app are expected for early June.