FAQs

Application/Use Questions

I started the application, but didn’t get any warnings. What’s wrong?
How does OttoMobile know where I am?
Is OttoMobile a GPS Navigation system?
Sometimes the GPS signal is weak.  Is there anything I can do?
What if I’m outside a coverage area?
What if I no longer want to share my heartbeat with someone I’ve already shared it with? Can I delete my history?
Isn’t the heartbeat function a privacy violation?
Isn’t the OttoMobile application distracting and illegal for use with a phone?
How do I take my eyes off the road to safely read the warnings?
What is a Red Light Camera?
What alerts other than speeding are available?
Is the GPS service free?
If I run OttoMobile constantly, will that drain my device battery?
I didn’t get notified of a crosswalk in my city. What do I do?
I’m being told that I’m speeding when I’m not. Why?
What happens if I get a phone call while using OttoMobile?
Can I listen to music while OttoMobile is running on my iPhone?
Will OttoMobile work with my provider?

Subscription Questions

My application only has one map, and no others are available in the App Store. How do I buy more?
How do the map subscriptions work?  Does a map purchase include a one year subscription for that city or is it a lifetime subscription or is it a onetime only purchase?
If the initial application purchase includes one map, do I have to choose that map at the time of purchase or can I wait until my city is covered and choose it then?
As cities grow, will the map prices go up?
If I buy a new phone, can I transfer all the maps that I bought from my old phone to my new one?
Why should I buy OttoMobile when I can get a perfectly good RLC app for free?
What coverage areas are available?
What is a “Home Map” coverage area?
How will I know if a map update is available?

Background

What is the leading cause of collisions?


Application/Use Questions

I started the application, but didn’t get any warnings. What’s wrong?

Before the app can provide warnings, it has to get a GPS signal lock. This can take a minute or longer, depending on your location and the time since the last signal lock.

How does OttoMobile know where I am?

OttoMobile uses the GPS component of your smartphone to determine your location.  If you are located within one of the OttoMobile coverage maps, OttoMobile will use that location information and determine when to alert you.
OttoMobile likewise uses GPS signals to determine your current speed.

Is OttoMobile a GPS Navigation system?

The OttoMobile application is not a GPS Navigation system and does not contain maps used for turn-by-turn navigation purposes.  The OttoMobile maps contain community-specific information that include speed limits, school zones, playgrounds, hazardous intersections, wildlife crossing, crosswalks, and photo-enforced (red light camera) intersections. You will receive speeding notifications and other location-based alerts with voice, sound and visual feedback in real-time as you drive about the community. The main benefit is the driving assistance and coaching, making you more aware of your surroundings and reducing your speeding infractions.  Ultimately, you will drive smarter and more confidently.

Sometimes the GPS signal is weak.  Is there anything I can do?

Nominal operation of the GPS receiver within the device to accurately obtain a fix for position and the speed of the vehicle are critical to the success of the operation of the OttoMobile application.  Good GPS reception is highly dependent on the location of the device in the vehicle and how it is mounted.  Check that the mount is positioned in a way that provides maximum exposure of the sky through the windshield.  
If intermittent GPS reception continues to occur after proper mounting, check to see if the vehicle has passivated or captivated glass. For more information on passivated glass, please browse to: http://www.myottomate.com/faq.asp#25.

What if I’m outside a coverage area?

As long as OttoMobile can receive GPS signals, it can track your speed and trip data, and provide heartbeats to the central server if you have a data plan. If configured, it will still warn you when you exceed your default speed limit, but all other alerts will not be functional.

What if I no longer want to share my heartbeat with someone I’ve already shared it with? Can I delete my history?

You are always able to change your personal URL, or disable and completely delete your trip trace history by configuring the application.

Isn’t the heartbeat function a privacy violation?

No. The service is opt-in, and all history is controlled by the user – you give your information to whomever you want, and you can delete your history at will.  PERSENTECH does not monitor or review user’s location and the basic Heartbeat service is provided to OttoMobile application users as part of purchasing the application.

Isn’t the OttoMobile application distracting and illegal for use with a phone?

Use of a smartphone for voice, text, email or Internet browsing while driving is not recommended and is considered illegal in many jurisdictions. A distinction must be made between the OttoMobile application and the other applications and in-vehicle technologies that may be distracting.  OttoMobile is intended to support the driver as a driver assistance system or driving companion, and such support is achieved when the smartphone is properly mounted for “hands-free” use in-and-around the dashboard area. No interaction is required by the User with the OttoMobile application after it is launched.  Voice and sound prompts are provided to assist the driver.

How do I take my eyes off the road to safely read the warnings?

You don’t. You either position the phone in such a way that you can see the screen without taking your eyes off the road (using a windshield or dash mount), or you rely exclusively on the voice and sound warnings. You do not need to see OttoMobile in order to benefit from its operation.

What is a Red Light Camera?

In many municipalities, RLC technology is used to enforce the traffic safety law relating to “red light running”, when a vehicle crosses an intersection controlled by traffic lights after the light has turned red. This technology can also incorporate a photo radar device that measures the speed of a vehicle crossing through the intersection. The term Red Light Camera (RLC) is often used to refer to cameras at photo enforced intersections which monitor both red light running and speeding.

What alerts other than speeding are available?

OttoMobile alerts you to potentially hazardous locations including Red Light Camera intersections, school zones, playgrounds, deer crossings (coverage area-specific -- not all coverage areas include wildlife alerts), pedestrian corridors, and those intersections in your municipality that are deemed hazardous because of a large number of collisions or injuries.

Is the GPS service free?

OttoMobile, like many other GPS-based devices, depends on the GPS service. At this time there are no subscription charges or license fees to pay in order to use GPS signals. While it is possible that the United States Government could impose such fees in the future, or limit public access to GPS in some way, the large number of devices in public use that are already dependent on GPS make this very unlikely.

If I run OttoMobile constantly, will that drain my device battery?

When active, OttoMobile is consistently pulling data from the GPS, and if OttoHeartbeat is enabled, sending data to the central server. These actions can drain a battery faster than without these functions engaged. We recommend using an external power adaptor that has the added benefit of charging your phone while you drive.

I didn’t get notified of a crosswalk in my city. What do I do?

PERSENTECH continues to improve its map database of alert points through user feedback. If there is an intersection or location where the notification is insufficient or missing, please let us know which one it is and we can modify it and schedule it in an upcoming map update release.
You can contact us here.

I’m being told that I’m speeding when I’m not. Why?

OttoMobile will notify you of a speed exception if it detects that you are travelling above a configured tolerance level. However, OttoMobile is only as good as the information it receives. The GPS has a margin of error, especially when in an area of tall buildings or other obstructions, or when you are idle. Because of this, the GPS accuracy will vary dynamically in time and space, and this could contribute to a momentary anomaly in the speed measurement.

What happens if I get a phone call while using OttoMobile?

(iPhone) OttoMobile automatically shifts into the background when a call is received. Trip logging and alerts will be suspended until OttoMobile is reactivated.
(BlackBerry) OttoMobile switches to the incoming call, but will continue to run in the background. Trip logging will not be affected, however alerts will only sound if the application is in the foreground.

Can I listen to music while OttoMobile is running on my iPhone?

Yes. OttoMobile will not interfere with music playing, unless you have alerts set to audio, in which case the music volume will be turned down for the duration of the alert.

Will OttoMobile work with my provider?

OttoMobile will work with any data plan that does not explicitly block GPS transmissions. This includes Rogers, Bell, and Telus in Canada.

Subscription Questions

My application only has one map, and no others are available in the App Store. How do I buy more?

Additional maps can be purchased through the “Map Store” in the application itself. iPhone map purchases are transacted through the App Store, while BlackBerry map purchases are paid using PayPal.

How do the map subscriptions work?  Does a map purchase include a one year subscription for that city or is it a lifetime subscription or is it a onetime only purchase?

Maps are available for individual purchase and will remain on your account permanently.  A map purchase includes one year (365 days) of map updates, after which the subscription to the update service expires.  To continue to receive map updates after the subscription expires, launch the OttoMobile application, navigate to the “My Maps” area, and follow the map renewal instructions.  
Maps are updated based on municipal changes when the new information is received and verified.

If the initial application purchase includes one map, do I have to choose that map at the time of purchase or can I wait until my city is covered and choose it then?

You are not required to select a “home map” in order to use OttoMobile, however you are only allowed to select one home map – once it’s set, it cannot be changed.

As cities grow, will the map prices go up?

All map prices are subject to change, however cities are not likely to grow at a rate requiring a price increase. New suburbs and exurbs will have new maps created for their coverage areas, priced accordingly.

If I buy a new phone, can I transfer all the maps that I bought from my old phone to my new one?

Yes. Map subscriptions are tracked by your OttoMobile account email address, not by the phone.
Note that application transfers are handled by the appropriate app store.

Why should I buy OttoMobile when I can get a perfectly good RLC app for free?

All of our coverage maps are developed and audited internally, allowing for more reliable data than a publicly-edited database.
OttoMobile provides much more than a RLC alert and is targeted towards older adult, younger novice, and career drivers seeking a driving companion to be more aware of the surroundings while reducing speeding infractions.  

What coverage areas are available?

The complete list of OttoMobile’s coverage areas can be found here.

What is a “Home Map” coverage area?

Your home coverage area is the area where you do most of your driving. You can set this (once) in your application. When set, you are given a free one-year subscription to your selected home map, providing you with updates for that year.

How will I know if a map update is available?

So as not to use up too much of your data plan, map updates are not downloaded automatically. The application “Map Store” shows a list of all available coverage areas, with icons displaying the maps with active subscriptions. The subscribed maps will display an icon for all subscribed maps with available updates. You are given the option to “Download Map” which installs the update on your OttoMobile.

Background

What is the leading cause of collisions?

The leading human causes of collisions include driver distraction, inattention and improper lookout. Distraction is the diversion of attention from the driving task by a compelling activity or event (reference - "Young, K. & Regan, M. (2007). Driver distraction: A review of the literature. In: I.J. Faulks, M. Regan, M. Stevenson, J. Brown, A. Porter & J.D. Irwin (Eds.). Distracted driving. Sydney, NSW: Australasian College of Road Safety. Pages 379-405. http://www.acrs.org.au/srcfiles/15Young--Regan.pdf.) and there are four dimensions of distraction based on the nature of the interference experienced by the individual: cognitive, visual, auditory, and biomechanical. In-vehicle telemactics devices such as navigation system and mobile phones that deliver information and entertainment to drivers including email, text, video programming and general Internet access increase the probability of distractions that may result in inattentiveness to roadway signage and the driving environment. (reference - Ranney, T. A., Mazzae, E., Garrott, R., and Goodman, M. J. NHTSA Driver Distraction Research: Past, Present, and Future. (2000). http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/departments/Human%20Factors/driver-distraction/PDF/233.PDF)