Stellar Startups: Traffilog

Companies using Traffilog's system have saved between 12 percent and 16% in fuel costs.

traffic 88 (photo credit: )
traffic 88
(photo credit: )
It seems that gasoline prices go up every time you go to the pump. And with oil zoning in on $150 a barrel, gas prices are likely to stay at record levels for a long, long time to come. There's no telling how many people are now kicking themselves for buying a gas guzzler, SUV-type vehicle when gas was cheap - as well as how many are brought to tears every time they fill up. If it's any consolation, though, there are people who have it worse than you - specifically, the people who manage fleets of taxis, delivery trucks and other vehicles that have to stay on the road. Where you and I have the option of saving money by taking the train or bus, fleet managers have no choice but to grin and bear the sharp rises in fuel prices - and since the fleet needs to be on the road, consuming gas, fleet managers have little choice but to pay. But all isn't lost, according to Traffilog Israel CEO Yoav Megged. Traffilog has been making a name for itself around the world in the field of "mobile asset management," he says, using its specially developed technology to keep fleet drivers out of accidents - and to make sure they do everything within their power to use fuel efficiently. Traffilog believes that the best way to save gas - not to mention drivers' lives, as well as cut down on vehicle maintenance costs - is to keep a close eye on vehicles, while they're out in the field. The Traffilog system features GPS, G sensors and ECM systems that interface with the vehicle's systems, reporting everything that happens back to an administrative server. From there, the information makes its way through filters and databases, analyzed for the relevant details needed by clients - who then get informed by e-mail, a Web interface or SMS. "Traffilog provides a complete solution for mobile asset management, allowing fleet managers to keep tabs on the vehicles they are responsible for, anytime and anywhere," says Megged. The system employs three strategies: keeping track of a driver's location via GPS; constantly checking and updating a driver's "style" to make sure he or she is driving safely and avoiding accidents (called "risk profiling"); and checking a vehicle's speed, handling and interaction with the road, using a remote diagnostic system that lets managers know whether the driver is using the vehicle properly - or is likely to waste gas, costing the company precious fuel budget funds. All the information is communicated to the central server via a built-in communications system utilizing local cellphone service. And, it's all done automatically. Once the information is back at Central, the custom filters Traffilog sets up for customers start analyzing the data and alerting those who need to know. For example, says Megged, the system can alert a fleet manager that a driver is moving too quickly, and not using his fuel efficiently - and, as studies have shown, fuel is used much more efficiently at lower speeds, especially in larger vehicles. "The system will report on the driver's style and habits," he says, "and if he or she overshoots a threshold for speed or safety - like turning corners too quickly - the driver's manager gets alerted, giving him or her the opportunity to take the necessary corrective action." And because the Traffilog system interfaces with the vehicle's internal computers, it can keep an eye on everything - speed, RPM, the level of fuel in the gas tank, the wear and tear on the brakes, etc. Thanks to its thorough data gathering and analysis, Traffilog is "the most advanced mobile asset management system in the world," Megged says. While there are competitors providing services such as GPS positioning and risk profiling, none offer the logging and analysis capabilities of Traffilog, which also has the fastest response time of any system on the market, updating the whole database every four seconds - and no other company offers the remote diagnostic capabilities Traffilog does. And while safety and location assistance is always important, gas prices are what really worry fleet managers today. That's what makes Traffilog the perfect acquisition for them; according to Megged, companies using Traffilog's system have saved between 12 percent and 16% in fuel costs. In one instance, he says, a company that signed up for Traffilog recouped within just a few months the money it was to spend on the Traffilog service - for the next three years! In another instance, "we were able to track down theft of fuel from the tanks of a truck using Traffilog, knowing exactly where the vehicle was parked when the fuel was stolen." Traffilog is based in Rosh Ha'ayin and has about 30 employees. It has sales offices in Scandinavia, West Africa, the former Soviet Union, the US and will soon be in Mexico. And with fuel costs such a major issue now, word is getting out about Traffilog's abilities in saving gas. "We are the only ones offering such a complete, easy-to-use solution, with information geared to exactly what the customer is looking for," says Megged. Currently, the system is only available to fleet operators, but Traffilog is working on a version for consumers, too. the company is working with Israeli insurance companies to offer versions for customers with young drivers, allowing them to reduce rates for those who install the system. The IDF is also interested in getting parents of soldiers to install the systems, hoping to reduce the extremely high accident rate among soldiers home on weekend leave who take the family car out for a ride. Not only will parents sleep easier if their children drive more safely - they'll breathe easier at the end of the month, with the extra money in their bank accounts from the gas money they saved, courtesy of Traffilog! [email protected]