The idea for Carvoyant was born when founder and CEO Bret Tobey was asked a simple question by his wife, “Could you fix this Check Engine light in my car?” He quickly realized that, though he could take the car to a dealer or mechanic and pay to find out why the check engine light turned on, there wasn’t an easy way to diagnose and fix the problem on his own. Today Carvoyant is breaking new ground by delivering a cost-effective platform for the automotive industry to harness real-time information about what’s going on under the hood of a car and leverage that information across an expanding landscape of innovative applications. Through a technology integration with CalAmp—utilizing the LMU-3000 GPS tracking unit with OBD-II Interface and supported by CalAmp’s industry leading on-board alert engine and over-the-air device management and maintenance system—Carvoyant is making the benefits of a connected car available today.
The initial Carvoyant implementation involved a Bluetooth dongle and mobile application for Android-based devices. While the concept worked in theory, the initial trial period was not bearing the results the Carvoyant team was hoping for; connectivity with Bluetooth wasn’t always reliable, and the Carvoyant team found that after the initial application download, customers were forgetting to open the application when operating their vehicles, which is required for vehicle data to be captured and analyzed.
Without reliable data and engaged users, Carvoyant wasn’t off to the start the team had been anticipating. They quickly realized that to provide real value, they needed the data from the car to be communicated 24/7. They also needed to identify a device that offered GPS and operated on the pervasive cellular mobile network. After reviewing and testing several devices, the Carvoyant team selected CalAmp’s LMU-3000 GPS tracking unit with OBD-II Interface, which is supported by CalAmp’s industry leading on-board alert engine, PEG™ (Programmable Event Generator), and over-the-air device management and maintenance system, PULS ™ (Programming, Updates, and Logistics System).
“What we liked most was that CalAmp’s solution provided a system where we didn’t have to build a communications portal,” said Renz Kuipers, COO and co-founder of Carvoyant. “Once we made the decision to move forward with the LMU-3000 supported by PEG and PULS, the possibilities for real-world applications are just about endless.”
The LMU-3000 is CalAmp’s full featured tracking unit featuring a superior GPS design, OBD-II interface and a 3-axis accelerometer. Once installed in a car, the Carvoyant-enabled LMU-3000 provides access to an incomparable breadth and depth of information including diagnostic data, speed and location information, plus it can detect hard braking, cornering or acceleration. The solution comes fully equipped with internal antennas for both cellular and GPS, eliminating the need for professional installation and making it quick, easy and inexpensive to get started.
Messages are sent across the cellular network using enhanced SMS or UDP messaging, providing a reliable and secure communications link between the device and the Carvoyant servers. The Carvoyant enabled LMU-3000 uses CalAmp’s PEG and PULS applications to deliver the full-featured functionality the Carvoyant team needed. The PEG on-board alert engine is used to continuously monitor the car and send out real-time notifications about issues relating to the car or based on other pre-defined conditions such as time, date, motion, location, geo-zone, input or other event combinations. PULS provides Carvoyant with a ready-made communications portal to configure, upgrade and monitor device firmware remotely to ensure optimum performance as new technology becomes available.
Integration with CalAmp’s robust LMU-3000 has enabled Carvoyant to quickly go to market with solutions to address the needs of a variety of stakeholders. Today Carvoyant is uniquely positioned in the industry, offering solutions to drivers, developers and the automotive service industry.
For drivers using the Carvoyant system for personal use, the value is immediately clear. Once a Carvoyant device is plugged into the car, it begins sending data to the cloud so customers can monitor their car’s mechanical status or see where and how fast their teen is driving in real-time through the web-based Carvoyant dashboard. Customers can take control of their car maintenance and understand exactly what’s going on under the hood: from catching a battery before it dies to decoding the infamous Check Engine light.
For developers, Carvoyant is sharing its Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, to allow web developers and application engineers to create innovative and new experiences for enabling the connected car. Carvoyant provides the infrastructure, and developers provide the ideas. The Carvoyant team takes the stance that – it’s YOUR CAR, YOUR DATA, YOUR API. Currently, Carvoyant provides developers with API access to their own car’s data with the call-to-action to “build something you think would be cool; if it works well, then Carvoyant will help you deliver your idea to more drivers.”
For the Automotive Service Industry
For the automotive service industry, Carvoyant is providing a communications tool in which service providers receive information about cars requiring maintenance and repair centers are alerted in advance when a car needs service, at the moment it needs that service. A Carvoyant-enabled LMU-3000 device is installed in a customer’s car and registered with Carvoyant. Once activated, the system will ‘listen’ for messages coming from the driver’s car. The technician’s office is messaged when a service need occurs. The message also prompts the car owner to visit the Carvoyant website where the repair center’s branding welcomes the user and gives him/her information about the repair need. The notification sent to the technician allows repair center staff to reach out to the car owner, informing him/her of necessary services and scheduling the appointment. Drivers are also able to opt-in to receive targeted coupons and promotions from participating repair centers, which often provides timely cost relief related to necessary service issues.
“At Carvoyant, we’re enabling the connected car of the future to be a reality today. We’re envisioning a world where drivers are as connected to their cars as they are their cell phone,” said Kuipers. “With driver input and what the car’s system is telling us, we can help drivers better maintain their cars and ensure a good experience when a driver needs to visit a repair shop.”