Our vision is to democratise access to fleet technology in emerging markets: LocoNav

We have served over 5 million vehicles across different industries and have over 1.5 million mobile app downloads.

LocoNav is a full-stack fleet software to provide drivers and fleet owners with the technology to unlock the next stage of the global fleet economy. The company is empowering fleet owners to efficiently and sustainably operate their business. Analytics India Magazine got in touch with the company’s co-founders, Mr Shridhar Gupta and Mr Vidit Jain, to learn more about their tech stack.

AIM: What problem does LocoNav solve?

Shridhar: Through LocoNav, we were entering an industry that manages the movement of goods worth billions of dollars by using millions of trucks around the world. However, fleet owners and operators were facing a lot of challenges running the business – they still used offline methods like paper-pen and phone calls. Access to modern technology was limited because of prohibitive pricing of new-age products that came from western markets, hardware needs of the high-end software, and network issues. This was not just a problem pertaining to India. Across global emerging markets, owners and drivers of over 250 million commercial vehicles were facing these challenges, and we wanted to address them.

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At LocoNav, we believe that each commercial vehicle is a business in itself with its own P&L. The commercial vehicle is the atom of LocoNav, and we leverage the power of IoT and AI to centre all our efforts around this atom to bring enormous amounts of data generated from the vehicle onto a single platform. This data enables the fleet owners & operators to ensure the safety of the driver, vehicle, and the freight it is carrying, along with improving business efficiency for the fleet owner, in turn improving the lives and livelihoods of everyone in the industry. An added benefit is a positive impact on climate sustainability.

AIM: How do LocoNav’s solutions help unlock the next stage of fleet management in India?

Vidit: Our Fleet Management Solution includes features like Track & Trace, Fuel Monitoring, On-Board Diagnostics, Driver Scorecard with real-time alerts, rich analytics, customised reports, and more, on a single platform within a super easy-to-use interface, which is available in English, Hindi, Punjabi and ten other International languages in emerging markets including Arabic, Spanish, Thai and Bahasa. We are also introducing AI-driven SaaS offerings into the Indian fleet-tech market, which includes LocoNav ADAS – an Advanced Video Telematics & driver safety solution bundled with hardware into a one-stop offering to lower operational costs, prevent and protect against false claims, and ensure safety for drivers, fleet and the business. 

Additionally, LocoNav powered Fastag solution helps drivers in India to experience hassle-free toll payments and save fleet owners money by automatically triggering refund requests on incorrect deductions. In the event of a false charge, which happens for ~2% of all toll transactions in India, the service automatically raises a claim for refund, adding millions of dollars back to fleet owner bottom lines. Through “Vahan Jankari”, fleet owners & operators can check vehicle registration details, e-challans & blacklist details in real-time as well – this ensures that in the scenario of vehicle stoppage by authorities, the driver and the fleet manager/owner can quickly resolve the situation with up-to-date information.

AIM: Could you elaborate on the tech stack powering your platform?

Vidit: We are a cloud-native application built for cloud-scale and performance. We rely on many robust and battle-tested open source softwares. We use Java, Golang, and Ruby as our primary programming languages, Kafka as message queue and stream processor, PostgreSQL and Cassandra as our primary database and RubyOnRails to write the web applications. Our front end applications are written in ReactJS, and mobile applications are written in native android and iOS, respectively. We also use several machine learning libraries to add AI and ML capabilities to the platform.

AIM: How does LocoNav’s tech ensure the safety of fleet workers?

Vidit: We are continuously working towards building solutions that ensure the safety of fleet drivers. While on the road, the drivers face a number of challenges, including thefts and accidents. In fact, one of the leading causes of death among truck drivers is road crashes caused by overspeeding or fatigue. We wanted to build solutions that could address this problem. Fleet owners use our system to coach drivers by using their actual trip data and help them align to safer driving behaviour. They also use features such as geofence or vehicle lock to ensure vehicles aren’t run outside their designated areas or times and allow for drivers to recuperate from their long trips. 

Our Video Telematics and DashCam combo offer real-time visibility into driver behaviour. It works by integrating camera and analytics with fleet tracking as the cameras provide video context to the vehicle and driving data, communicating in real-time with managers and owners over a cellular network. The data recorded also helps identify poor driving patterns post which the drivers can be coached in safer driving practises. Driver Scorecards generated on our platform instil a sense of accountability amongst drivers and motivate them to perform better, leading to a safer experience while driving the vehicle. 

AIM: What is LocoNav’s current standing in the market? 

Shridhar: In developed nations, the industry has become very large over the past decade, and several players offer sophisticated tech catering to drivers and fleet owners who are tech-savvy, enjoy better roads and networks, and overall are more organised. However, in global developing markets, no one has ambitiously built a large presence, and we see ourselves as the first mover there. We are catering to fleet owners and operators who are not using the technology of any kind. 

In the markets we cater to, the spectrum of our customers range from large enterprises which hope to get efficiencies of tens of millions of dollars by using the right fleet management solutions to small business owners for whom their commercial vehicle is their sole livelihood and fleet management can mean a better quality of life for their families and future generations. We are building a company that will empower fleet owners resorting to old-school devices and software with accessible, world-class technology-led solutions that are accessible in availability, usage and pricing. We are the largest fleet-tech company in India and are currently operating in over 40 countries across emerging markets. We have served over 5 million vehicles across different industries and have over 1.5 million mobile app downloads.

AIM: How does the Indian government incentivise the software industry?

Shridhar: The Government of India recognises that the IT-ITES industry is a critical pillar of the country’s economic growth. Accounting for 8% of India’s GDP, the sector holds enormous potential for employment generation. It is expected that by 2025 the sector’s contribution would hit 350 billion USD. Under the National Policy on Software Products, the government is taking steps to ensure the creation of a sustainable Indian software product industry. Under the NSPS, there are several provisions for participation in the capital market, fast-tracking legal and regulatory issues, and tax provisions for ease of business.  

AIM: What’s next for LocoNav?

Shridhar: Our aim has always been to create an on-ground and tangible impact for the fleet management sector, and we are grateful to our investors who share the same vision and have put their trust in the company. With the support of our investors, we are building the world’s largest network of connected commercial vehicles and are leveraging that network to build a full-stack fleet services ecosystem. We want to work towards replicating LocoNav’s success in India across global emerging markets to establish a local presence in key geographies through building partnerships and channels and making strategic acquisitions. Post our recent funding, we have got experienced personnel on our team to ensure aggressive expansion and build strategic plans to realise our vision of democratising access to fleet technology in emerging markets.

As mentioned earlier, over 250 million commercial vehicles do not have access to technology that can help in running the fleet businesses efficiently. A majority of these commercial vehicles operate in developing and emerging countries of Asia, Africa, Oceania, the Middle East, and Latin America. So, as the next steps, we are strengthening our tech muscle by building technology and data science teams and doubling down on innovations. This, combined with our learning in the Indian market, will help us empower fleet owners and operators in emerging markets with access to affordable fleet tech. 

AIM: How do your solutions promote sustainability in transportation?

Vidit: Our innovations while improving fleet management are also contributing positively to climate sustainability. LocoNav’s Fuel Monitoring Systems help in detecting fuel wastage and provide comprehensive reports on the fuel consumption trends. This helps the fleet owners and drivers to be mindful of fuel wastage caused by idling and adverse driving practices, ultimately saving big on fuel costs. Our on-board diagnostics help in tracking and measuring vehicle health indicators such as engine temperature, battery levels and more. This helps fleet owners to maintain their vehicles better, thereby saving costs by increasing their fuel efficiency – which in turn helps climate sustainability. 

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Avi Gopani
Avi Gopani is a technology journalist that seeks to analyse industry trends and developments from an interdisciplinary perspective at Analytics India Magazine. Her articles chronicle cultural, political and social stories that are curated with a focus on the evolving technologies of artificial intelligence and data analytics.

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