As drivers smashed into each other’s cars at the Barnstable County Fair demolition derby, an important test was underway.
FALMOUTH — As drivers smashed into each other’s cars during Wednesday’s demolition derby, their bumpers crushing under each impact and smoke looming from their engines, an important test was underway.
Cambridge Mobile Telematics, a 10-year-old company based in Cambridge, worked with the Barnstable County Fair’s demolition derby organizers to conduct crash-impact studies as part of a larger goal to make roads safer.
“The demolition derby is a fun way to continuously make our algorithms and drivers safer,” said Ryan McMahon, vice president of insurance for the company.
Before the drivers were released into a crash pit about the size of a football field, the company’s teams installed a camera, sensor and phone with its DriveWell app inside each vehicle.
Each crash and impact was recorded and monitored once the derby began. A drone recorded the action from above for the team to study later. After the event, the team brought the data back to its office in Cambridge to analyze.
Cambridge Mobile Telematics works with insurance companies to provide more accurate information on accidents and more effective insurance claims. Insurance companies such as Liberty Mutual and Plymouth Rock Auto Insurance provide Cambridge Mobile Telematics’ software to its customers for use while driving.
“We can tell where the vehicle was, how fast it was going, whether it was driving after, how severe it was,” McMahon said. “We’re creating all that information within minutes after the crash to enable a faster claims process and provide emergency services for people who need it.”
The company’s DriveWell app, which was planted inside each car before the derby, monitors the driver’s behavior, tracking how often they brake, how fast they’re going and if they experience an impact.
If more than one impact occurs, the system also can understand which one happened first, McMahon said. For example, if someone is rear-ended and, in turn, bumps into someone in front of them, they would want information to show that they’re not at fault, he said.