MapmyIndia has launched a plug and play device called DriveMate that connects to cars via the OBD (on-board diagnostics) port and provides location, ignition and status reports, alerts of the vehicle via Android, iOS and Windows Phone apps.

The device is the size of an USB pendrive, and comes with a rechargeable 170mAh battery. It displays status through 2 LEDs and supports GPS and GSM technologies. The company claims the GPS is accurate to within 10 meters. The device comes with a user manual, a quick start guide, warranty, a SIM agreement and an activation form.

The company has not revealed the cost of the device, rather redirects users to directly get in touch if interested to buy one. The device comes with a SIM card although it requires a separate SMS package top up. The top up comes in 2 varieties, a ‘250’ pack that includes 1250 SMSes, and a ‘500’ pack that includes 2500 SMSes. The company does not reveal the prices here either, but the packs presumably cost Rs 250 and Rs 500 respectively.

Users will also need to renew the their service contracts after a year, although the price is once again not mentioned. The service contract basically enables users to continue receiving email alerts and use the app in sync with the device. The yearly service pack will need to be topped up with an SMS package to receive SMS alerts.

The app: The device by itself is quite useless without MapmyIndia’s app, which works on Windows, Android and iOS phones. The app lets users log various car details like car make, year, type, colour etc., set reminders for servicing and other types of car care. The device also tracks the car’s trips that users can view on a map, or in the history section which lists details of address travelled to and from along with the time and date.

Users can also set alarms for when the device is unplugged, ignition is started, car is overspeeding beyond a set limit, is leaving an area its geo fenced in, or is idling too long.

Foray into connected cars: MapmyIndia has been working on connected cars for a while now. The company had partnered with Eicher to make connected school buses in July last year and with Avis car rentals to connect all its cars with tablets in August last year. These initiatives included similar features like geofencing, live positioning, alert reports about movement, undue stoppage, vehicle status and historical data replay.

The company seems to have used these partnerships as a testbed for an independent solution that anyone can use. As such, the features offered by the app seem to be targeted at transport/logistics companies, state transport departments and other fleet owners rather than individual car owners. However, we expect with time the app will add other features that are more relevant to individual owners. <

Other developments at MapmyIndia:

– In December 2015, Flipkart acquired a minority stake in MapmyIndia to boost its supply chain and logistics operations through address verification, real time shipment tracking etc.

– In November the same year, MapmyIndia partneredwith Ola for providing mapping data to the cab aggregator. The financial details of the deal were undisclosed.

– In March 2015, MapmyIndia launched its Map API a decade after Google Maps had launched its own.