An avid biker and an engineer join hands to build an IoT device that ensures road safety
According to Jayanth Jagadeesh, VP BD and Marketing, eLsys Intelligent Devices Pvt Ltd, India is among the nations that have the highest number of road accidents in the world: one person dies every four minutes. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his radio address to the nation, too, has expressed the strong need to build a national emergency system/framework to manage, analyse and avert road emergencies,” he says.
Jayanth, therefore, calls it a wonderful coincidence that his company has been working on solving the same problem for the last year-and-a-half. “Our vision is to revolutionise how Indians call for help, and how India responds to road emergencies,” he says.
Bringing road safety through IoT
Through its product Raksha SafeDrive, eLsys aims to leverage the power of IoT (Internet of Things) devices, telecom revolution and cloud technologies to create an integrated road accident management and analysis platform. The device is capable of automatic crash detection, two-way call connectivity, GPS tracking (using also the best motorcycle GPS unit), engine health monitoring, and smart panic button.
Genesis and foundation of the core team
The idea to leverage technology to avert and manage road accidents better came to Prasad Pillai in 2013, after narrowly averting an accident himself. “Most drivers on Indian roads experience a close shave every week. We thank our stars, curse the other commuter and move on. It is important that our accident preparedness and management is not so unorganised. Our passion is to apply technology in making roads safer and drivers responsible,” says Prasad.
Jayanth, on the other hand, is an avid biker, and has even completed a 5,000-km solo motorcycle road trip from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. The duo met through a common friend and their passion for road safety got them to work as a team. “Travel and exploration is meant to be fun. Road trips are supposed to excite people and make them come alive. But most people do not dare to explore. Raksha SafeDrive answers most of the ‘what-if’questions,” he adds.
What does the product do?
Jayanth says Raksha SafeDrive is capable of automatically detecting an accident and proactively calling for emergency care assistance. The team claims that it has leveraged multiple technologies to devise an intelligent road accident management platform that can detect, alert, notify and perhaps even predict driver behaviour that may lead to an accident.
Raksha SafeDrive follows the subscription model for revenue. The revenue comes from the one-time device cost and a monthly/yearly fee for continuous accident monitoring and human assistance for emergencies, roadside assistance and parking location retrieval.
Challenges and future plans
Jayanth says that Raksha SafeDrive is a complex electronics product complemented by IoT, telecom and cloud technologies. Unlike a software product, the successive iterations in designing, building and testing a stable and sturdy product is both time and resource consuming. The team has invested two years of research and development to come up with the product.
“Currently, the company is sustaining its operations from the founders’capital investment. We are exploring the possibility of an angel funding to accelerate our go-to market plans,” says Jayanth.
The team would like to build an effective and technology-assisted accident management and analysis system in India. It has also initiated a ‘Road Safety Consortium’, a platform for organisations that care about making roads safer and minimising accidents in India. It is reaching out to car manufacturers, emergency care providers, roadside assistance providers, NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) and other government and NGO entities to join hands in making the roads safe.
“Raksha Safedrive can be purchased as a standalone unit by individual customers and/or as a customised set (in tens or hundreds) by fleet operators. We are open for preorders at www.raksha.me” adds Jayanth.