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Otonomo’s vehicle data marketplace helps automakers build their connected vehicles ecosystem

Vallabh Rao
21st Oct 2017
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The Israeli company’s cloud-based platform enables safe, secure, and simple aggregation, distribution, and consumption of vehicle data for car manufacturers. 

Otonomo, a startup based in Herzeliya, Israel, has a vehicle data marketplace to allow sharing of data so as to help car companies improve the drive not only in terms of the experience but also the safety.

The cloud-based platform grants hundreds of mobility services and applications seamlessly, as also reliable access to data gathered from millions of cars. Otonomo, which was launched in 2015, is the first of its kind to gain the trust of major car makers, and vehicle data providers and consumers, enabling the connected car ecosystem to advance and flourish.

Otonomo ecosystem

The Otonomo platform houses both a data marketplace and an exchange, and enables the safe, secure and simple aggregation, distribution and consumption of vehicle data.

It comes loaded with features to solve commercial and technological concerns, including analytics and reporting, accounting. The platform’s multi-layered security complies with the industry’s most stringent standards, and offers rapid integration and a simplified developer environment.

Also, the platform, while gathering and analysing data from cars, keeps a strong check on privacy and security rules and regulations, while protecting the driver’s privacy.

Prior to founding Otonomo, Co-founder Ben Volkow served as CEO and Co-Founder of Traffix Systems, which was acquired by F5 for $140 million, while Avner Cohen was the co-founder and CEO of a smart grid Internet of Things (IoT) company.

Avner Cohen (left) and Ben Volkow

“The understanding that auto OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) have been accumulating crucial vehicle data at growing costs, but that the data was not being utilised or monetised despite its indisputable value, was probably the spark that led to the building of Otonomo,” says Ben on how the idea for the connected car startup came about.

“Being one of the most gifted engineers I had the privilege to work with, I asked Avner to join me for an in-depth examination of the barriers to progress led us to the conclusion that a third-party, technological solution would pave the way to the evolution of the connected car,” he adds.

Otonomo has so far raised $40 million in funding, from venture capital firms such as Bessemer Venture Partners, StageOne Ventures and Maniv Mobility and former vice-chairman of GM Steve Girsky.

The company’s clients include Daimler and BMW, and currently have 70 partners buying the data, ranging from players in the retail space and insurance industry, and over 1 million cars on the road are connected to the Otonomo platform. This number, Ben says, is expected to rise to 5 million by the end of 2017.

On the company’s plans for India, Ben says, “India is hugely exciting for any technology company – and in the connected car space, India is emerging as a huge market. Although only a small percentage of vehicles are currently connected, if we look to the mass smartphone adoption in India for comparison, India has shown that mass and rapid adoption is a safe prediction and the infrastructure for it is evolving rapidly.”

“In a country with a high incidence of road accidents and traffic congestion increasingly imposing heavy costs on the economy, both the industry and government are aware of the importance of connecting vehicles. We believe that (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s ‘Make in India’ programme, consisting of the Automotive Mission Plan 2016-26, will pave the way for India to become an international hub for the auto manufacturing industry and bring about rapid progress in terms of vehicle connectivity and autonomy,” Ben adds.

The connected car ecosystem is at a nascent stage in India, though Indian automobile manufacturers are getting on to the bandwagon. Mahindra & Mahindra launched its connected vehicles technology platform Digisense last year, while Tata Motors entered into a partnership with Microsoft early this year for its connected cars technology.

Website: http://otonomo.io

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