Indian startups in auto telematic mode

Last Updated 29 August 2015, 20:30 IST
Several Indian startups have come up in recent times in a bid to cash in on the growing market for vehicle telematics, which is in much demand today, thanks to auto innovations evolving on a regular basis.

According to a report by Future Market Insight, automotive telematics combines telecommunication and informatics to provide various services such as navigation, safety and security dynamically to vehicles. Currently, the global penetration of automotive telematics is 48 per cent, which is expected to reach around 62 per cent by 2020.

The Asia Pacific automotive telematics market is expected to reach $15,248 million by 2020, at an estimated CAGR of 11.6 per cent.

Pune-headquartered CarIQ, which began in 2012, claims to be one of India’s first technology platform connecting the car, owner and services, based on data collected directly from the automobile. The company received undisclosed seed funding in 2014 from Pose Ventures and Snow Leopard.

“CarIQ’s solutions are a combination of hardware and software working together to bring a connected-car experience. It starts with a smartplug — an IoT device from CarIQ — which can be connected to any car that was manufactured post-2009, since BS II protocol was adopted in India around this time,” CarIQ founder and Chief Executive Officer Sagar Apte told Deccan Herald, on the sidelines of the recent Telematics India 2015 event.

The device, which is connected into the diagnostic port under the steering wheel, begins learning details related to car performance, driver behaviour, and mileage, and about problems related to engine, gear box, and transmission, among others. The findings are presented in a lucid way via CarIQ’s mobile app to the car owner. “Car owners can track their vehicles and understand how they drive. The solution warns owners of potential problems in their car, and suggests specific actions that could be taken to resolve them, real time,” Apte said.

The device also reminds the owner of upcoming service schedules along with the work to be done and costing.

“The product is available online for Rs 6,500, along with a GPRS data plan and a year’s warranty. Designed, developed and manufactured in Pune, it has over 500 users today,” he claimed, adding that the company uses Microsoft Azure as its cloud partner.

Meanwhile, another firm, Mudra Electronics Security Devices’ Road Point brand imports GPS tracking systems and distributes them in India. The company, which has 370 dealer distributors, sources GPS trackers from China.

“We have 12 kinds of products including vehicle, personal and assets tracking systems. The vehicle tracking systems help control air-conditioning, immobilisation, and listen-in options (you can hear what is happening inside the vehicle),” Road Point Managing Director Rajen Chaddha said.

The products are priced between Rs 3,500 and Rs 8,500, and the target customers are transporters, fleet operators, taxi owners and government vehicles.

The company is now planning to introduce its own product — a GPS tracking system with two night vision cameras with 3G compatibility for live video streaming — and aims to sell 1,000 units every month, initially.
(Published 29 August 2015, 20:30 IST)

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