Editor's choice
20 Dec 18

Australian Fleet Software start-up set to conquer the world

This is the atypical story of 3 guys and a girl in Perth, Australia, Ron, Bec and Irwan, all with an automotive background and Ovidiu, the tech specialist, who have revolutionised fleet management. As most good ideas go, their idea was a simple one: digitise and automate fleet management by introducing machine learning and AI.

OviDrive®™ was created in 2015. With a budget of AU$ 2.5 million, the team managed to evolve from concept to beta and developed a unique tool that is fundamentally different from standard solutions. Rather than following the vehicles, the OviDrive®™ solution deploys telematics in a much wider range of automated solutions. It links the vehicle (telematics) with the driver (mobile application) and creates a live interaction between this connection and the fleet ecosystem (suppliers, administration, payments, Fleet Manager).

Telematics

Today, we’re talking to Irwan Iriks, who’s calling us from Sydney where’s he’s relaxing from a busy couple of months in Hong Kong. More about that later. For now, let’s ask Irwan if he thinks that telematics, as a standalone tool, still has a future. “There are downsides to traditional telematics. Lots of data becomes available but it needs to be processed and interpreted and this process is prone to human error. Then, someone needs to figure out what the right actions are and execute these actions successfully. Telematics data might be great, but in reality creates additional work and latency, because the human factor is still too involved.”

Irwan continues: “Next, even if correctly interpreted, telematics tools act after the events. If you see your driver is taking the wrong routes or is driving unsafely, you can only take action after such events. This is where OviDrive®™ comes is: due to the vehicle and driver being connected live to the ecosystem and marketplace, our algorithms can act immediately, rather than waiting on humans to interpret historical data.”

What does automation look like?

The OviDrive®™ platform automates tasks, processes, decisions and payments between procurement and disposal. We use AI and machine learning to learn from events and reduce the manual workload required for similar events in the future. When an accident happens, for instance, the platform will not only inform the vehicle’s ecosystem (Fleet Manager, leasing, insurance, repair, relief), but will also manage the workflows that have been activated since the accident. Everything happens live, which is the main distinction with most other fleet management tools that record actions and events, but don’t generate them.

A futureproof business model

When we asked Irwan if the OviDrive®™ platform is built for leased or purchased fleets, he explains us that this doesn’t make a difference. “It’s really not important who owns the vehicle. The trend from ownership to usership has already started and the main question will very soon be: who’s going to manage all of these robotaxis, shared vehicles, autonomous buses and so on? If you would do this the old school way and ask a team of people to manage these vehicles, you increase idle time and error margin and eventually put the entire business at risk. It needs to be automated and immediate or, in other words, the vehicle needs to be able to make decisions for itself helped by a system such as OviDrive®™.”

“Today however, we’re in a transition time. This means that OviDrive®™ is serving a client who is evolving from traditional to connected and autonomous vehicles and who’s taking the first steps towards a new business model. Our solution helps them to get ready and in the process and improve FTE. With the OviDrive®™ platform, one person can manage in excess of 10,000 cars.”

Return on Investment for Procurement

Savings are still on the agenda of the Procurement Specialist and OviDrive®™ understands that reducing FTE cost is, in reality, only avoided cost. Irwan: “This is where AI & machine learning takes the lead. Based on what has been previously processed by our algorithms, the platform is able to make the decisions that are both efficient and cost effective. We manage preferred supplier agreements to provide full transparency and ensure that deals you’ve negotiated deliver the best possible return.”

Value for the Fleet Manager

Does OviDrive®™ make the Fleet Manager redundant? Irwan is quick to answer that this is not the case: “We’re not cancelling out the Fleet Managers, we’re taking them to the next level of efficiency. In our view, the Fleet Manager shouldn’t be verifying invoices or processing driver inquiries, approvals or incoming data. These fleet professionals can demonstrate much more value to the business and shouldn’t be stuck with all the nitty-gritty details. Give them a good tool and they’ll be able to work on safety, strategy and efficiency. It benefits them and eventually their employers.”

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi

In 2018, OviDrive®™ was invited to the INFINITI Lab Growth Accelerator, an initiative from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. During a 2 month Integration process, OviDrive®™ was able to pitch to the Alliance Ventures capital fund. “We were one of 8 start-ups chosen out of 1100 applicants. During the 8 weeks at the lab in Hong-Kong, our business model and technology were challenged and we spent a lot of time understanding their business and see how our technology could be applied directly through the vehicle manufacturer.”

There’s more exciting information to come about the Alliance, but for now we can already share that Irwan came home with some good news and a signed LOI.

Data

OviDrive®™’s approach to data sharing is unique in a world where data has become a profit generator. “It’s simple; we don’t share or sell data. Our clients own their data. When a work order goes out, for instance, the service centre will only see the vehicle’s maintenance history and whatever needs to be done to the vehicle. In addition, we protect individual users privacy by having specifically designed the platform to not rely on personal data. We don’t need to know your Facebook profile or what your shopping behaviour is. It’s about assets, not people.”

More to come

OviDrive®™ is on a roll. After seeing huge demand in Australia, the company is now expanding globally. Its client base has expanded from business fleets to roadside assistance companies and even leasing companies. Irwan: “Everyone who has vehicles to manage can come our way. We are a cloud based, Software as a Service with a monthly subscription model, our hardware is low cost, plug and play and can be installed in less than 5 minutes. There’s really no obstacle to give it a go.”

The future collaboration with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and OviDrive®™ will grow the company exponentially. Much more to come from OviDrive®™!

Authored by: Yves Helven