My Driving Pal – A thoughtful implementation of Tracking IoT

IoT is here and here to stay. There are many many ways in which our lives are going to change drastically. Healthcare will get better and life in general will improve. But tracking also seems to be an area where IoT will have a big influence. I came across MDP (My Driving Pal) on Kickstarter here . Let us look at this exciting idea today.

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MDP consists of a small battery-powered device and a mobile phone App. They communicate with each other via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). The device has a built-in GNSS (GPS), Cellular Modem (with global coverage), Sound Detection (some versions), Temperature, Accelerometer, and few additional sensors. It may be placed inside a car’s glove compartment, under a bike’s saddle, or even attached to a child or elderly person’s clothing. The custom App allows the user to easily configure it to the specified asset.

When the device and user’s phone are out of range of each other (i.e. >15 meters that causes the BLE connection between them to break), the MDP Device turns on its sensors and monitors the object that carries it. When they are within range, App monitors the conditions and the device goes into idle mode, in order to save battery. Nowadays, people always carry their smart phones and MDP takes advantage of this fact.

One great safety feature of MDP is issuing alert (via remote push notification) on user’s phone, when interior temperature of car goes too high. The MDP device (in this case, placed inside the car) measures the temperature via its built-in temperature sensor and it detects presence of child or pet via its sound detection sensor. MDP App issues an alert on user’s phone, when he/she is not with the range of car (<15 meters). Each year, in the United States an average of 37 children lose their lives in this way, or about one every 9 days. This tragedy also happens to pets at perhaps even a higher rate. MDP product is capable of preventing this.

There are several battery-powered tracking products in the market, but MDP is innovative and different, because of the following reasons:

  1.  MDP solution includes both Hardware and App in it. Plus, the hardware can work independent of the App. Unless there is need for issuing an alert (such as theft event), all the tracking data reside locally on the device or the App. Thus, MDP protects customer’s privacy, unlike existing tracking products that track 24/7 and data is stored on a backend server.
  2. MDP Device is battery-powered and easily portable from one type of asset to another, unlike for example Automatic or Zubie that are only for cars and plugged into OBD2 port of the vehicle and hence are intrusive and many cause engine malfunction.
  3. MDP enables stolen vehicle recovery for car, motor-bike, bicycle, and in general any moving asset (for example Ski equipment, drone, boat, etc.). It’s a great substitute for LoJack system that costs $1000 and only works in US and a couple of other countries.
  4. The market for MDP is world-wide.
  5.  It can also be used for monitoring fleets and measuring driving behavior for insurance companies.
  6. In the near future (2017), when cars start talking with each other via DSRC-based V2V and V2I wireless communications, MDP (as an off-the-shelf product) would enable such communications for existing cars.

I am rooting for this startup to get the traction it needs! Support it on Kickstarter folks!

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