SmartDrive Systems has been named a finalist in the “Telematics Start Up Company of the Year” awards program. According to the San Diego-based firm, it is one of five finalists chosen from hundreds of entries worldwide; other finalists include Microsoft and OnStar.

The SmartDrive system, explains the company, detects erratic driving and excessive speed and enables driver training and behavioral modification as well as preventive maintenance and diagnostics and crash re-construction all via one seamless, web-based service.

A SmartDrive vehicle unit is mounted under the rear-view mirror and consists of two cameras-- one pointing forward, one pointing at the driver. Using the cameras, SmartDrive is continuously recording, so events such as tailgating, swerving, speeding or a collision, are recorded and saved from 15 seconds before the event to 15 seconds after it.

The telematics award nomination came from an independent panel of automotive and wireless industry judges with each judge asked to narrow each category down to five finalists, according to SmartDrive.

“I think the nomination validates the integrity of our feature-rich device and the value of our web-based SmartDrive service,” said Jim Plante, president & CEO of SmartDrive Systems. “I think the return on investment with SmartDrive speaks for itself-- a 50% reduction in collisions and a 25% reduction in maintenance costs,” he added.

A video of the SmartDrive system at work may be accessed at http://smartdrivesystems.com/video/.