The sensing tag for Sycada that combines sustainability with ROI

This is the story of digital services innovation that is disrupting traditional markets while helping companies make their product offerings more sustainable, cost efficient and safe. At the heart of the story is a low-cost asset-monitoring sensing tag that is small, light and powerful enough be stuck just about anywhere. This core technology concept, now called DriveTag, is helping our client Sycada with its mission to prove that sustainability can go hand in hand with healthy ROI.

Small in size, big on data

Truly disruptive solution

DriveTag is a very small motion detector. It takes seconds to install without the need for trained personnel and has an inexpensive unit price that makes it a viable proposition for every one of the tens of millions of vehicles on our roads.

 When fitted to a windscreen and coupled to Sycada’s algorithms, driving style analysis and coaching can help drivers not only reduce their fuel consumption by 25% – a huge cost and environmental benefit for personal users and companies alike – but also improve their safety by reducing the likelihood of accidents by more than 50%.

The technology inside

The CC experts drew on their deep knowledge of Bluetooth wireless communications, low-power electronics and engineering to create a truly disruptive solution in a very small form factor.

Created as a modular sensor platform, the device provides flexibility to select appropriate functionality from the available handling sensors. There is a 12G accelerometer for vibrational analysis and journey characterisation and a 100G one for accurate impact detection, as well as temperature and humidity sensors. This flexibility was key for Sycada as it enabled the selection of appropriate features to create an optimal solution matching customer needs, but with the ability to add further capabilities down the line. 

The system continuously monitors and logs environmental conditions and records critical events – all done over a year of use, with only a single coin cell battery.

Detailed driving fingerprint

Once attached to a windscreen and paired with a smartphone, the always-on DriveTag captures each journey, monitoring aspects such as acceleration, cornering and braking to create a detailed fingerprint of driving style.

Driver feedback suggests areas of improvement for both safety and efficiency/sustainability purposes, while data sent to the company delivers valuable insight to help it understand its fleet and business better than ever before.

Sycada has an overriding ambition to make roads safer and save millions of litres of fuel a year. DriveTag is already making a significant contribution to that journey.

“Sycada’s collaboration with Cambridge Consultants has delivered a flagship product that is helping ambitious organisations innovate and disrupt once traditional sectors.”

Kristian Winge

CEO, Sycada

With change comes great opportunity

Helping the transition to Net Zero

The current stock of fossil fuel powered motor vehicles is enormous. Even the most optimistic assessments suggest it will be two decades or more before they’ve all been retired from service.

So, as we negotiate the transition to cleaner transport, we need to apply every available technology to limit emissions. This brings an opportunity for companies like Sycada, that can leverage technology to build business amid the disruption.

That’s where innovations such as DriveTag and its associated digital service have a vital role to play.

New insurance model

With a predicted future of people driving less and finding better alternatives to using a personal car, it follows that customers will be charged less for their insurance.

Why pay for accident insurance when a car rarely moves? This will allow insurance premiums to be based on driving style and usage rather than blunt assessments of driver demographic or location – bringing benefits to both supplier and customer.

UK motoring services company RAC is now using DriveTag in this way. With the tagline ‘Pay when you drive, save when you don’t’, the innovative Pay by Mile RAC car insurance product is designed for drivers travelling less than 6,000 miles a year. This means RAC can be closer to its customers while also enabling them to save up to 20% on monthly insurance premiums.

Benefits beyond cost-effectiveness

The standalone utility of DriveTag makes it much more cost effective than more expensive black box telematics solutions which must be installed in the vehicle.

Patent protected power management enables a standard coin cell to work for more than a full year. Advanced journey detection algorithms and logic mean calculated miles are collected at great accuracy and with a significantly higher data rate.

The resolution for car vibration is also much higher than when using a standard mobile accelerometer, which ensures much greater accuracy on actual driving style. This, combined with smart self-calibration and easy installation, adds up to a very simple and useful driving tool.

Finding the best route forward

Expensive trials avoided

The usual expense of product development and rollout was banished to the past by DriveTag. The components used in the device are an order of magnitude cheaper than other hardware solutions on the market.

This means expensive trials were largely avoided – allowing the sensor technology to be rolled out to the mass market quickly. Once on the road, the sheer quantity of data collected during use is enough to drive further feature enhancements and improve accuracy of new models being produced.

Great working relationship

The DriveTag case study is characterised by a great partnership and collaborative working relationship. From our initial internal development of the concept, Sycada came on board and made great use of our multidisciplinary team to bring it to life. From mechanical design and electronics to algorithm design, our involvement extended right through the product development cycle.

CC worked with Sycada to choose their Customer Experience Management support, as well as assisting with set up and app integration at the production line. This relationship is still on-going with more developments being made to further enhance the product.

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