Zendrive, a startup that uses smartphone sensors to measure drivers’ behavior, today announced ZenFleets, its first paid service. As the name implies, ZenFleets is meant for companies that have a large number of cars on the road at any given time.
With ZenFleets, businesses can track where those cars are, but more importantly, the service also tries to figure out if the driver is focused and paying attention to the road. Unlike similar services — most of which get their data from the car’s sensors — Zendrive wants to focus on the driver and not only the car.
To do this, Zendrive regularly looks at basic data like speed, acceleration and other data points most similar service also consider. While you’d think that the car’s own sensors would be more accurate than a random phone’s, Zendrive argues that the phone data is just as accurate. In addition, Zendrive also looks at whether the driver is distracted and using the phone, for example.
The company is targeting this new service at ridesharing, carsharing and delivery companies. “The ZenFleets service helps the On Demand driving economy– including the fast growing rideshare, carshare and last-mile delivery companies– scale safely and efficiently through driver-centric analytics,” said Jonathan Matus, co-founder of Zendrive, in a canned statement today. Because companies like Uber and Lyft don’t typically own the cars their drivers work with, using smartphone sensors is much easier for them than trying to integrate a hardware-based solution.
Zendrive also today announced that it has closed a strategic round of funding led by BMW i Ventures, Bill Ford’s VC firm Fontinalis Partners, Expansion Capital and First Round Capital. The company previously raised a $1.5 million round in August 2013. This time around, Zendrive didn’t want to disclose the size of this new round.