Autonomous driving is a buzz word now, mostly restricting to car segment. Taking a step ahead, India-America based start up Netradyne has developed an unique Artificial Intelligence backed solution for commercial vehicle sector. Netradyne has been started by veterans from Qualcomm, Avneesh Agrawal and David Julian, primarily focusing the US and Indian commercial vehicle markets. In an interview with Jaishankar Jayaramiah of Automotive India News, Avneesh Agrawal reveals the plans of Netradyne.
Can you give us overall picture about your company?
Started in 2015, we have offices in Bangalore (India) and Sandiego (United States) and we consider both these places as our headquarters. We have strong engineering presence in India with entire product development and core research team in the US comprising a workforce of around 50 people. So we want to utilize best of both. Basically we are a product company, building a product for automotive sector. Our product Driveri is for commercial vehicles.
Please detail technical features and usage of your product:
Yes Driveri can be mounted on windshield beyond the Rear view mirror and it has four cameras, all HD. The Driveri platform is a complete IoT system. It is composed of an intelligent mobile video analytics device and a robust cloud-based fleet safety management center. The device capabilities are unparalleled and include – Dedicated Artificial Intelligence Deep Learning TeraFLOP processor, Quad HD cameras offering 360 degree field of view, High data bandwidth, low latency 4G LTE module.
How it is helpful from driver and fleet manager point of view?
The reasoning and causality of everyday events like following distance, ‘stale’ traffic lights, and the action of other vehicles on the road are computed at the vehicle level, delivering information that is timely and meaningful. It is sensing everything that driver is sensing. All these information can be used and analysed on the processor to make an estimate of driving performance. We believe in empowering fleet managers with meaningful data that helps recognize (and reward) driver productivity and progress. As of now it is passive to the driver, more targeting commercial fleets. For instance, if the logistics company owning hundreds of trucks want to know how its drivers are driving as they have valuable cargo and concerned about drivers safety, this device helps them to track their vehicle and drivers.
What size of the fleet managing company will be your potential customer?
Both larger and smaller size fleets. However the company owning a fleet in the size of 1-5 vehicles may know the performance of its drivers at personal level. Moment the cargo company starts getting more than 10 vehicles into their fleet, this product will be very helpful for them.
What are other purposes the Driveri meets?
The information gathered into cloud can also be used for insurance purpose apart from guiding the driver over their performance. In the future we are also planning to develop solutions that can immediately alert the driver similar to Advance Driver Assistance System (ADAS). We have capability to do these things but right know Driveri serves for fleet managers gathering information about drivers.
Can you detail about the hardware part of your product and also if you have any technological partnerships?
It is a custom design. We have fully designed it and working with the companies in India and China to manufacture the whole hardware. Currently it is on trial in the US. And our first commercial launch targeted market is the United States in March and India in summer between June-July. Technology tie-up in the sense, NVIDIA provides us chipset.
How do you see the market for this product in India? Do you think India like emerging economies can adopt this kind of advanced technology as in the developed North American and European markets?
We see increasing interest in India too. Awareness on road safety is increasing in India. There are reports that the cost of accidents in India could be around 3 percent of GDP or $ 100 billion economic loss. The studies say that lot of these accidents are preventable ones and driver related reasons. So the interest in India is growing to prevent accidents through new technologies. In our opinion from technology perspective, India is not immune to adopting the technology developments.
What is the size of market in India for your product?
It is too early to estimate the size of the market in India for this product. If you believe the numbers, the road safety is $ 100 billion. Even a few percentage point of improvement could be a huge economic benefit. Around 650,000 trucks are being sold in India every year and roughly total trucking market on installed base may be around in the range of 6-7 million as compared to the US, which has around 22 million vehicles on road. India may be one fourth of the US size at 5 million, considering the large road transport segment in India. But these are very rough estimates. Indian trucking industry is largely unorganized sector, may be 85-90 percent comes under unorganized sector and the cargo companies slowly entering into the organized mode considering safety and value.
Can you comment on trials, your uniqueness and investment?
In the United States, we have carried out 12 customer trials. In India, now we have started with one. Now there may be some fleet management companies, but we makes difference by using Artificial Intelligence for drivers safety. See the difference is that a few companies in the US are investing in autonomous driving but we are unique in the sense that using the same technology to invest in drivers. Moreover autonomous driving is more like for the next 5-10 years, while investing in driver is something that can happen right away. We have raised $1 16 million in 2016 from Reliance Industries.