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Telematics for Usage Based Insurance

Posted By: Usha Rama Sep-01, 2017 InformativeEngineeringTechTechnology Upgrades

Insurance telematics and usage based insurance (UBI) programs continue to roll-out across the globe. The rapidly changing landscape is making the insurers select the accurate business models to ensure success. However, many programs are out with a focus on price discounts resulting in a foreseeable race to the bottom; but the industry is moving in the direction to subset the companies to succeed.

The recent innovation by auto insurers — Usage Based Insurance (UBI) is more closely align the driving behaviors of premium rates for auto insurance, while the mileage and driving behaviors are tracked using odometer readings or in-vehicle telecommunication devices such as telematics which are typically self-installed into a particular vehicle port or already integrated equipment installed by car manufacturers. The essential idea of telematics auto insurance is to monitor the driver's behavior directly while the person drives. With the help of these telematics devices, you can measure a number of elements of interest to underwriters—miles were driven; time of day; rapid acceleration, where the vehicle is driven (GPS); hard breaking; hard cornering; and air bag deployment. The level of data collected will generally reflect the telematics technology employed and the policyholders’ readiness to share personal data. Then the insurance company assesses the data and insurance charges or premiums accordingly. For example, when a driver drives long distance at high speed will be charged a higher rate than a driver who drives short distances at minimal speeds. While UBI premiums are collected using a variety of methods, including utilization of the gas pump, direct billing, debit accounts and smart card systems.

About a decade ago, the first UBI programs began to shell in the U.S. and this is the time when Progressive Insurance Company and General Motors Assurance Company (GMAC) began to offer mileage-linked offers through combined GPS technology and cellular systems that tracked miles driven. These offers are still in combined with ancillary benefits such as roadside assistance and vehicle theft recovery. The current accelerations in technology have augmented the efficiency and cost of using telematics, enabling insurers to detain not just how many miles people drive, but when and how they drive too. Such strategies helped to result in the growth of several UBI variations, including Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD), Pay-As-You-Go, Pay-How-You-Drive (PHYD), and Distance-Based Insurance.

Usage Based Insurance Pricing

The pricing schemes for UBI are included greatly from the traditional auto insurance. Traditional auto insurance relies on actuarial studies of aggregated historical data to create rating factors which include driving record, personal characteristics (age, gender, and marital status), credit-based insurance score, vehicle type, garage location, vehicle use, previous claims, liability limits, and deductibles. You can find premium discounts on traditional auto insurance which are usually limited to the bundling of insurance on several vehicles or types of insurance, insurance with the same transporter, protection devices, driving courses, home-to-work mileage and more.

While policyholders think of traditional auto insurance as a fixed cost, or can be assessed annually by usually paying in lump sums on an annual, semi-annual, or quarterly basis. But, studies show that there is a strong correlation between loss and claim costs and mileage driven, particularly when existing pricing factors defers (such as class and territory). Maybe this can be one reason, many UBI programs seek to change their fixed costs associated with mileage driven costs that can be used in combination with other rating factors in the premium calculation.

Usage-based insurance has an advantage of utilizing individual and current driving behaviors, rather than relying on aggregated information and driving records of past trends and events, making premium pricing more individualized and precise.


Usage-based insurance programs offer many advantages to insurers, consumers, and society. The main aim is to link the insurance premiums more closely to actual individual vehicle or fleet performance. This increases affordability for lower-risk drivers, many of whom are also lower-income drivers. It also gives consumers the ability to control their premium costs by incenting them to reduce miles driven and adopt safer driving habits. Fewer miles and safer driving also aid in reducing accidents, congestion, and vehicle emissions, which benefits society.

The usage of telematics help insurers to more accurately estimate accident damages and reduce fraud by enabling them to evaluate the driving data during an accident. In addition, the ancillary safety benefits accessible in conjunction with many telematics based UBI programs also help to lower accident and vehicle theft related costs by improving accident response time, by allowing the stolen vehicles to be tracked and recovered.


The challenges like tracking the mileage and behavior information in usage-based insurance programs have raised privacy concerns; as a result, some states have enacted legislation requiring disclosure of tracking practices and devices. Furthermore, some insurers limit the data they collect. This is not for everyone although; but acceptance of sharing the information is growing as more mainstream technology in devices such as smart phones, tablets, and GPS devices. And moreover, social media networks like Facebook and Twitter also enter the market.

Implementing a UBI program, mainly one that utilizes telematics can be expensive and resource-intensive to the insurer. In addition, UBI is an emerging area and therefore there is still much hesitation in selecting and understanding of driving data and how it should be integrated into existing or new price structures to maintain profitability. This is very much important; as the transitioning of lower-risk drivers into usage-based insurance programs offers lower premiums could put pressure on overall insurer profitability.

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Biomedical Signal Processing

Posted By: Usha Rama Aug-30, 2017 InformativeEngineeringTechTechnology Upgrades


Our bodies constantly communicate the information about our health. Thus, this information can be captured through physiological instruments which measure heart rate, oxygen saturation levels, blood pressure, blood glucose, brain activity, nerve conduction and so on. If we see traditionally, such measures are taken at some specific points in time and can be noted on the patient’s chart. However, the Physicians actually see less than once percent of these values as they make their rounds and proceed to treatment decisions are made based upon these isolated readings.


Biomedical signal processing involves in analyzing these measurements to provide accurate information upon which the clinicians can make decisions towards their patients. Today the engineers are discovering new ways to process these signals using a variety of mathematical formulae and algorithms. However, working with traditional bio-measurement tools, and the signals can be computed by a software to provide the physicians with real-time data and greater insights to aid in clinical assessments. Though by using a sophisticated means to analyze what our bodies are saying, we can potentially determine the state of the patient’s health through more non-invasive measures.

Real-Time Monitoring

This is other best way to monitor the patient’s signals and proceed further with their decision. While real-time monitoring can lead to better detection management for chronic diseases, earlier detection of adverse events like heart attacks, strokes, and on time diagnosis of disease.  While the Biomedical Signal Processing is especially useful in critical care settings, where patient data must be analyzed in real-time.

The researchers of the University of Ontario Institute and Technology, are working in conjunction with biggies in technology like IBM, who have created an environment for sophisticated data analysis which helps to read every reading from every medical device in order to support the clinical decision-making task. However, a fully functioning pilot program targeting the neonatal intensive care unit - NICU of The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, has been in place since 2009. There, the doctors are researching the use of advanced stream computing software which may help them in early detection and can be a use for the early warning system to alert NICU staff when they have any emergency or life- threatening complications. Presently, the streaming environment procedures are doing 1256 data points per patient each second, through providing constant monitoring of any changes in an infant’s condition as well.

Cloud Computing

Adapting real-time monitoring is one step further, and thus the same thing is being tested by the researchers using the cloud computing to provide advanced specialist support in the rural and remote communities. While the cloud computing approach is currently being tested using data from the neonatal intensive care unit for Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.

However, providing a remote database also has some implications for telemedicine applications. The Real-time embedded signal processing could be automated onto chips that are part of small, lightweight devices combined into cell phones or worn by patients – (look into see Wearable & Implantable Technologies) who can be observed from home.

A Closed System

We do know that the human body is comprised of several systems working together in a closed loop and thus programmed to preserve life. While a set of points in our brain work to continually monitor and respond to the internal and external influences to regulate body temperature. Though our heart rate varies in response to the autonomic nervous system, which acts as the feedback system, directing the heart to make adjustments as per to the body’s level of exertion. Likewise, as a person begins to become ill and the body reacts very subtly. In this way, everything affects something else, and these effects can be measured or interpreted. By doing complex analyses of the body’s signals, we can discover early indications n how various conditions manifest themselves.

Toward an Understanding of Alzheimer’s

The biomedical signal processing can lead to better and timelier diagnosis and treatment of a disease such as Alzheimer’s. While the researchers are combining EEG readings with other testing parameters to detect patterns that will differentiate Alzheimer’s patients from those with other forms of dementia.

Though they are focusing on the deteriorating synchronization between the left and right sides of the brain, present, a definitive diagnosis can only truly be made after an Alzheimer’s patient has died. But in most cases; they have suspected only after the disease is already in the advanced stage. It is always suggested to have earlier detection which could allow for earlier intervention with drugs that slow the progression of the disease.

Abolishing the Guesswork

Our body is our greatest asset, but the current limitations of science and medicine lead to some sort of guesswork on the part of physicians. Why is this? While the treatments are often employed in a trial-and-error fashion based upon each physician’s experiences with their own patients. But is this the right of treating them is the question now? If we see sometimes doctors do not know whether a patient has gotten better as a result of the body’s own capability to heal itself or through medical intervention. So the advanced way of detecting the right issue and then going forward to treat it is always suggest able. Because guesswork may sometimes help us - but not always though.

Though the expert physician can consider four to seven variables simultaneously, in those some 20 or 30 different situations could be occurring in a patient’s body at once, later what? So the physician makes an educated guess based on his previous experience. So by giving the physician better information, will always lead to making him take better decisions. The more we understand the system, the more we can remove the guesswork.

For example, let us take the lungs, Lung tissue will be just of 5 microns thick. If a patient is on a ventilator, a doctor palpating the patient’s chest through their rib cage cannot probably determine the degree of stiffness of the patient’s lungs. So the amount of ventilation prescribed is estimated and subsequently adjusted based on how that patient responds. Here engineering can help to eliminate—or at least reduce the amount of trial and error which may occur in millions of real-life patients every day.

Knowing the Standards and Protocols

To acquire and understand data from multiple sensors and create meaningful information, specific protocols and standards need to be established and followed. What are these protocols for data acquisition? How they help and how will this data be transmitted and then stored? How can it be processed to provide real-time information about the patient’s health? How can this data be mined to discover new information about a particular patient as well as the population at huge? This is again, the hand of the engineer comes into play. But often times our hands are also tied-up.

However, many biomedical sensors operate using proprietary protocols which are guarded to protect financial interests. While in order to advance our understanding of bodily and disease processes, this will have to change as per the requirements.

In this process, we have a BioSig project which is again an open source software library that provides different software tools for the analysis of many different bio signals; and these tools address issues such as data acquisition, quality control, artifact processing, data visualization and so forth.

Multi-Scale Signal Processing

By taking and examining measurements in vast amounts, engineers are working towards an improved understanding of how physiological systems should work. A lot of effort is currently focused on multi-scale signal processing; looking for features in the measurements that need to be taken at varying scales in order to make more reliable predictions about the whole patient and his or her records.

While the biomedical signal processing includes the entire spectrum of health and wellness. It is a basis of how engineering aids the field of medicine. Again medicine is an empirical field; here both the doctor and medicine work together. However, the Doctors understand medicine based on what they know to be true through their study and practice; and Engineers, on the other hand, focus on trying to fully understand a particular system. Once they truly know the answer, the work in that area will be done.

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Highway Network Management System - Part 1

Posted By: Usha Rama Aug-28, 2017 InformativeEngineeringTechconstruction blogs


A highway is a public road, and especially a major road which connect two or more destinations. Any interconnected set of highways can be variously referred to as a "highway system", a "highway network", or a" highway transportation system”. The history of highway engineering gives us an idea about the roads of ancient times, and recent times. However, the roads in Rome were constructed in a large scale and it radiated in many directions helping them in military operations; thus they are considered to be pioneers in road construction.

While the modern roads by and large follow Macadam's construction method, which is to use bituminous concrete and cement concrete as the most important developments; however various advanced and cost-effective construction technologies are used; and developments of new equipments help in the faster construction of roads. Many easily and locally available materials are tested in the laboratories and then implemented on roads for making economical and durable pavements.

Scope of transportation system has developed very largely; and the population of the country is increasing day by. Though the lifestyle of people began to change; the need for travel to various places at faster speeds has also been increased. This increase in the demand led to the emergence of other modes of transportation like railways and travel by air. Whereas the above development in public transport sector was taking place, and the development in private transport was at a much faster rate mainly because of its advantages like accessibility, privacy, flexibility, convenience and comfort. These are the reasons which led to a increase in vehicular traffic in particular in private transport network. Thus, the road space available was becoming inadequate to meet the growing demand of traffic and overcrowding started. In addition, chances for accidents also increased. This has lead to increased attention towards control of vehicles so that the transport communications was optimally used. They were, various control measures like traffic signals, providing Roundabouts and medians, limiting the speed of vehicle at specific zones etc. were implemented.

However, with such advancement of better roads and efficient controls, more and more investments can be made in the road sector especially after the World Wars. These were large projects requiring large investments. If we see for optimal utilization of funds, one should know the travel pattern and travel behavior; this will lead to the emergence of transportation planning and demand management.

Modern Soil Stabilization Techniques

The stabilization of naturally happening or natives oil has been performed by millennia. Whereas, Mesopotamians and Romans individually discovered that it was possible to improve the ability of pathways to take heavy or light traffic by mixing the weak soils with a stabilizing agent like pulverized lime stone or calcium. This was the first chemical stabilization of weak soils to improve their load-carrying capacity.

Successful modern soil stabilization techniques are necessary to guarantee adequate sub-grade stability, especially for weaker and wetter soils. It is widely recognized that selection between cementitious stabilizing agents cement and lime is based on the Plasticity Index -PI of the primary soil type being enhanced.

Stabilization with Cement CTB -Cement Treated Base

According to the PCA - Portland Cement Association, Cement Treated Base has provided economical, long lasting pavement foundation. However, these structures have combined soil and or aggregate with cement and water which compacted to high density. The advantages of cement stabilization are several:

  • Cement stabilization increases the base material strength and rigidity, which reduces deflection due to the traffic loads. This delays surface distresses such as fatigue, cracking and extends pavement structure life.
  • Cement stabilization provides uniform and strong support, which results in reduced stresses to the sub-grade. Testing indicates a thinner cement-stabilized layer can reduces tresses more effectively than a thicker un-stabilized layer of aggregate. This reduces sub-grade failure, pot-hole formation and rough pavement surface.
  • Cement stabilized base has greater moisture resistance to keep water out; this maintains the higher strength of the structure.
  • Cement stabilization reduces the potential for pumping of sub-grade fines.
  • Cement stabilized base spread loads and reduces sub-grade stress.

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Use Of Recovered Tyres In Construction Part 2

Posted By: Usha Rama Aug-14, 2017 InformativeEngineeringconstruction blogs

Tyre Rubber in Concrete and Mortars


Research on cement-based products was modified with tyre rubber – such as concrete and mortar has been carried out for many years in order to examine the potential utilization of waste tyres in concrete making. While the waste tyres have been used to partially replace the aggregates in mortars and concrete. However we have seen that tyre rubber can be used to produce workable concrete for specific applications, provided that adequate selection processes are undertaken;  including the amount, gradation and shape of tyre particles. This section deals with the properties of either mortar or concrete modified with waste tyre rubber.

Specific Weight

The specific weight of concrete modified with waste rubber reduces as the level of replacement of aggregates with tyre particles increases. This decrease can be attributed to the specific weight of tyre rubber being lower than that of traditional aggregates -0.9–1.16 g/cm3 for tyre rubber compared with 2.65–2.67 g/cm3 for aggregates and Oikonomou et al., 2006; Khaloo et al.,. On the other hand, Khatib and Bayomy (1999) show that the decrease in specific weight is almost insignificant for rubber contents lower than 10–20% of the total aggregate volume.


The workability, defined as the ease with which concrete can be mixed, transported and been put into moulds, and it is affected by the interactions of tyre rubber particles and mineral aggregates. However, the rubberized concrete has been found to be less workable than conventional concrete. The reason behind it is, as the rubber content increases (Khatib and Bayomy, 1999; Albano et al., 2005; Oikonomou et al., 2006). It was also observed that mixtures made with fine crumb rubber were more workable than those made with coarse tyre chips or a mixture of tyre chips and crumb rubber (Khatib and Bayomy,1999).

Equally, studies say that by the current authors on cement mortars showed that the workability of mortars with coarse rubber particles - maximum size of 4 mm is better that that of mortars including fine rubber particles (0–1.18 mm). while, Raghavan et al. (1998) reported that mortars modified with tyre shreds achieved workability comparable with or better than conventional mortars.

Water Absorption

The durability of a materials are often related to the capacity towards the resist water absorption. However, the primary transport mechanism by which water enters cement composites is capillarity by suction. The smaller the capillarity, the higher the durability of the composite.

According to Segre and Joekes -2000, cement paste modified with tyre rubber particles is characterized with a decrease in both the amount of capillary water absorption and its speed with an increase in rubber content. while this could be due to the capacity of rubber to drive back water. Oikonomou et al. 2006 have studied the addition of tyre rubber to cement mortars as a substitute for the aggregates sand and found that open porosity and capillarity by suction decrease with the use of tyre rubber. However, on the other hand the decrease can be attributed to the smaller volume of pores in the mortars and to the fact that these pores cannot be easily reached by the water. Moreover, Benazzouk et al. 2007, investigated the water absorption of cement composites containing shredded rubber wastes; tyre rubber has been used as a partial substitute for cement in order to develop lightweight construction materials. While the test results for the hydraulic transport properties showed that incorporation of tyre rubber into such composite stands to reduce the water absorption of the composites.


rubber-particles-as-observed-with-a- stereoscope

Different kinds of microscopes are useful tools for observing and analyzing the micro structural characteristics of cement based products. Analysis of the micro-structure of rubberized cement products has been conducted using stereoscopes and scanning electron microscope (SEM).


For stereoscopic observations, small pieces of cement mortars or concrete have been used without any treatment in order to examine the bonding between the rubber particles and the cement matrix. For scanning electron microscopy, very small samples were coated with gold after having been subjected to full vacuum inside the electron microscope. Initially, the surface and shape of tyre rubber particles was examined, as seen for example in Images 1 and 2 Oikonomou et al; 2006. Tyre rubber particles are seen to be homogeneously distributed in the cement paste with no segregation see image. 3.


Sustainability of Construction Materials

For conventional mixtures there is perfect adherence between aggregates and cement paste. However the adhesion is not as perfect when rubber particles are added to such mixtures (Segre and Joekes 2000; Turatsinze et al., 2005; Oikonomouet al., 2006), though improvement of this adhesion between rubber particles and matrix can be achieved by the use of various means. As far as styrene–butadiene rubber -SBR latex and anionic bitumen emulsion are disturbed, micro scopic examination showed that these sorts of additives are well bonded to the rubber particle surface, therefore strengthening the bonding between cement paste, aggregates, additives and rubber particles. Moreover, rubber particles also act as crack arresters -Turatsinze et al., 2005; Oikonomou et al., 2006.

Mechanical Characteristics

The rubber aggregate substitution is found to decrease the strength of cement-based products like Siddique and Naik, 2004; and Turatsinze et al., 2005; Oikonomou et al.,2006. While this reduction varies depending upon the percentage, the size and the surface consistency of the rubber particles as well as the type of cement Siddique and Naik, 2004. Li et al. 2004; concluded that concrete containing waste tyre rubber in the form of fibres has higher potency compared with that made with larger rubber particles chips. Using crumb rubber particles ranging in size from 4.75 mm to less than 0.075 mm to restore fine aggregates resulted in a reduction in concrete strength and this decrease is even greater when crumb rubber was used to replace the coarse aggregates Eldin and Senouci, 1993. Therefore, an increase in the crumb rubber percentage resulted in further decrease in strength properties. This decrease is attributed to the weak bonding between the rubber particles and the cement matrix. To further research to improve this bonding has therefore been conducted. Rubber particles were pre-treated or washed using various methods including water, saturated aqueous solution of NaOH and coupling agents like Naik and Singh, 1991; with Rostami et al., 1993; in addition, the following admixtures were added to the concrete mixtures: an Underwater Concrete System UCS Turatsinze et al.,2005); super plasticizer; a 60% anionic asphalt emulsion Oikonomou et al.,2006; and SBR latex Lee et al., 1998; Oikonomou et al., 2006. It has been noted Siddique and Naik, 2004 that concrete containing water washed rubber particles or rubber particles treated with carbon tetrachloride showed a smaller reduction in compressive strength compared with concrete containing untreated rubber particles. Meanwhile, the addition of latex in cement-based products results in an even smaller reduction in compressive strength because the latex enhance the adherence of the rubber particles and the cement mixture Lee et al., 1998, Oikonomou et al., 2006.As far as flexural and split tensile strengths are concerned, it was observed that these properties decreased at a slower rate compared with compressive strength Topçu et al., 1995; Pierce and Williams, 2004; Oikonomou et al., 2006. As expected, the strength of cement composites customized with tyre rubber decreases and given the fact that mechanical strength is directly related to the dynamic modulus of elasticity, the dynamic modulus of elasticity decreases with the increase in rubber percentage. This reduction results in the production of a less brittle material Albano et al., 2005; Oikonomou et al., 2006; Khaloo et al., 2008.


There has not been a great deal of research on the durability of concrete modified with waste rubber. Cement mortars containing waste rubber showed a decrease in chloride ion penetration as the percentage of tyre rubber increases. There is a further decrease in chloride ion penetration when adding commercial products comprising an anionic bitumen emulsion and SBR latex. On the other hand, according to Gesoglu and Güneyisi 2007, for a given water: cement ratio and with a moist curing period of 3 and 7 days, the use of rubber increased the chloride ion penetration through concrete and the degree of ion permeability depended on the rubber percentage used. After 28 days of curing there was a greater reduction in the magnitude of the chloride ion penetration into the mortar.

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Cost Effective Ferrocement Small Houses Part 2

Posted By: Usha Rama Aug-09, 2017 InformativeEngineeringTechnology Upgradesconstruction blogs


Material Used For Making Ferrocement

  • Cement
  • Fine Aggregates
  • Water
  • Admixture
  • Mortar Mix
  • Reinforcing  Mesh
  • Skeletal  Steel

Methods Of Ferrocement

There are basically three types of ferrocement. They are following

  • Armature system
  • Closed mould system
  • Integrated mould system

Armature System:  In this method the skeletal steel is welded to the desired shape on either side of which are tied several layers of stretched meshes. This is strong enough, so that mortar can filled in by pressing one side and temporally supporting other side.

Closed Mould Systems:  Several layers of meshes are tied together against the surface of the mould which holds them in position while mortar is being filled in. The mould may be removed after curing or may remain in position as a permanent part of a finished structure. If the mould is to be removed for reuse, releasing agent must be used.

Integrated Mould System: Using minimum reinforcement any integral mould is first to be considered to act as a framework. On this mould layers of meshes are fixed on either side and plastering is done onto them from both sides. As the name suggests, the mould remains permanently as an integral part of the finished structure. For example: Double T-sections for flooring, roofing etc. Precaution should be taken to have firm connection between the mould and the layers filled in later, so that finished product as a whole integral structural unit.

Construction Methods

  1. The desired shape may be built from a multi-layered construction of mesh, supported by an armature, or grid, built with rebar and tied with wire.  For optimum performance, steel should be rust-treated, (galvanized) or stainless steel.
  2. Over this finished framework, an appropriate mixture (grout or mortar) of Portland cement, sand and water and/or admixtures is applied to penetrate the mesh. During hardening, the assembly may be kept moist, to ensure that the concrete is able to set and harden slowly and to avoid developing cracks that can weaken the system.
  3. Steps should be taken to avoid trapped air in the internal structure during the wet stage of construction as this can also create cracks that will form as it dries.
  4. Trapped air will leave voids that allow water to collect and degrade (rust) the steel. Modern practice often includes spraying the mixture at pressure is a technique called concrete or some other method of driving out trapped air.
  5. To eliminating air where it contacts steel, modern concrete additives may include acrylic liquid "admixtures" to slow moisture absorption and increase shock resistance to the hardened product or to alter curing rates.
  6. Plastering to be done using simple equipment.
  7. One worker to impregnate mortar from one side while another worker holds a back-up sheet on the other side.
  8. Excessive mortar build-up to be scraped off.
  9. Curing to be carried out for 28 days preferably in shade to avoid cracking by keeping moist by frequent wetting, covering with jute sacks that retain water.


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