REV Technologies gets its auto working (via Business in Vancouver)

Business in Vancouver is a machine-to-machine (M2M) device that uses GPS and a cellular connection to transmit data via the cloud from a car’s on-board

diagnostics (OBD) system to smartphone via a variety of apps. The device costs $89 and requires a data plan that costs $13 per month. It operates over the Rogers (TSX:RCI) network in Canada and T-Mobile (NYSE:DT) in the U.S.

“This whole area, where mobile meets car, is going to open up just an amazing amount of opportunities,” said James Maynard, CEO of Wavefront, Vancouver’s wireless accelerator, which has been at the forefront of promoting the growing M2M space.

Alan Swain, Wavefront’s vice-president of engineering, said could become a tool for pay-as-you go insurance. By providing details on driving habits, insurance companies could charge drivers based on where and how much they drive.

Many newer car models are being made with some kind of connectivity. But all cars made after 1995 also have OBD systems that allow them to become connected.

“This creates a huge retrofit opportunity,” Maynard said. “When you’re connected to that OBD, it’s like tapping into the brain of the car. It just opens up a whole treasure chest of opportunities.”

REV makes the drive trains for electric vehicles. It also makes AutoGrid, developed to allow groups of electric vehicles to share their power with the grid – a process that essentially turns EVs into batteries for power utilities.

AutoGrid requires a wireless connection, and Giraud realized there were broader applications than just connecting electric cars to the grid.

“We thought, if we’re going to bring a pipe into a car – an Internet pipe – there’s a whole lot you can do with that,” Giraud said. “Why connect only the electric cars? Why aren’t we connecting everybody’s cars?”

Giraud said there are 300 million cars made after 1995 in North America and Europe that could become connected with, and dozens of potential new applications.


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