BMW April 2022

Ordinary motorists may now have access to the digital details of their driving behaviour and vehicle performance, through the launch of the Automobile Association (AA’s) Connected Car.  

“This is a truly fantastic product which will not only give individual drivers, but also fleet managers, access to a wide range of data that is easily accessible via desktop or mobile devices. This will enable them to save money and improve their and other drivers’ safety on the road,” says AA CEO Willem Groenewald. 

“The product which, for instance, provides access to a digital logbook, is especially convenient for individual motorists, business owners, and fleet managers who want to use the data for tax purposes.” 

AA Connected Car works through installed hardware on a vehicle, as well as software available on Huawei, Apple or Android devices.  

The data collected on each vehicle is owned by the driver or fleet manager, and no third party has access to the data. 

In a survey conducted by the AA in late 2018, 84% of owners said the data they generate should be theirs and not be shared with anyone else, as is the case with some similar options available on the market. 

But why generate this data? 

In a recent position paper on car connectivity, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) noted that “connectivity should lead to a decrease of breakdowns, anticipatory maintenance for better reliability, reduced costs and increased convenience for users. We want owners to have information that they can analyse to drive safer and more economically,” says Groenewald. 

“The data provided by AA Connected Car includes information on elements such as harsh braking, cornering and acceleration, speeding, and low battery notifications. The data can also be used to effectively manage costs and is easily downloaded online or on a mobile phone. AA Connected Car can also track vehicles – an attractive feature for fleet owners.” 

Groenewald says an added benefit of AA Connected Car is that it gives parents and guardians of young and new drivers some comfort in knowing that they are able to determine the movements of their vehicles and to detect certain problems with their children’s vehicles. 

“The information provided through this service … will make the driving experience safer and better,” says Groenewald. 

“If owners use the data to adjust their driving behaviour and monitor their vehicle’s performance, they will find their vehicles last longer, their efficiency improves, and they drive safer overall. We believe this product fits perfectly with our mission to make roads in South Africa safer.” 

AA Connected Car is being launched in partnership with MiX Telematics Africa, which is providing the technology to support the service. “As a worldwide leader in the provision of telematics solutions, MiX Telematics is honoured to have been selected by the AA to provide the hardware and software for the AA Connected Car solution,” says MiX Telematics Africa MD Gert Pretorius. 

“We believe it is collaborations such as this that bring innovative safety solutions to the market, with the aim to make a positive difference to vehicle owners’ lives by enhancing their access to real-time data.”