August is an exciting month for Eloy as we’ve just turned 3 years old. When you look at what you achieve day-to-day it can sometimes seem quite minimal: lots of pain as code fails to work, emails go unanswered, or you decide that potential opportunities were in fact lost time. But when you look back quarter-on-quarter or even year on year, you realise how far you have travelled.
To celebrate turning 3, let’s have a quick look back on each year of Eloy
Happy birthday Eloy!
Year 1: Ideation, Discovery and Architecture
The first year after officially leaving our jobs and launching the business was an interesting time for the founding team of Eloy. Marcus had experimented with Red, Amber, and Green in-vehicle warnings on a basic SatNav application where other users could observe where you were driving and how dangerous a road segment was.
We explored what was needed for a driver-focused connected service and came to the clear conclusion that in-car navigation was fundamental. Why? Our goal was to help drivers make more efficient and safer decisions whilst driving and trying to do that without an effective communication and coordination tool like SatNav would never achieve an optimal solution.
We’d been meeting regularly as a team working on ideas and then Covid-19 struck. We initially thought that we may have to spend a few weeks working at home but in the event didn’t get together again until December of that year.
Covid also meant that some of our plans had to be put on hold as we weren’t going to be able to meet potential partners face to face and begin trialling the app.
First iteration of the app
However, we picked up various pieces of freelancing and technology consulting work, including EdTech, Mortgages, Banking, Health (NHS), eCommerce, Consumer Research, and Digital Marketing, to keep the business afloat and spent the rest of the time finessing the app.
We arrived in July 2020 well on the way to the first release of the Eloy Drive mobile app (on Apple iOS) and with a clear understanding of the back-end systems and intelligence that was required to make the application effective.
Year 2: Mobile Apps, Apple CarPlay and Industry Introduction
Eloy app integrated with Apple CarPlay
Year 3: Android, Android Auto, Multiple Projects and Intelligent software
We started to make more contacts in the traffic industry in the second half of 2021, including our Innovate UK Project Partner LoveMyEV, Andy Graham at White Willow Consulting, and many people at Yunex, Vodafone, and the Department for Transport.
The number of projects we completed between July 2021 and July 2022 has been quite phenomenal. We created an in-app experience for the RAC Veteran Car Run, took part in in-vehicle signage tests with National Highways VMS, were awarded an Innovate UK grant for helping SMEs make the switch to electric vehicles, created ETSI compliant communication and messaging with Yunex and Vodafone, and won a Rees Jeffreys Road Fund award to create in-vehicle digital traffic signals for narrow country lane passing points.
I also spoke at many conferences, including the RACF Data Driven, Highways UK, ITS UK, TTF York, and TTF Liverpool. We were also in a position to build out our intellectual property based on the rapid R&D cycle we have now created…and the founding team can all now claim to be real inventors on our patent applications!
Joint winners of the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund award
We also took on our first employees, thanks to the government’s Kickstart scheme.
This year, we were all able to focus on Eloy full-time, so external contracting work stopped and we continued to break even without any external funding.
So what does the next year look like for Eloy?
We have viewed the last 3 years as a progression along a product development cycle that is similar to something we have all become experts at due to COVID: vaccine development.
2019 was an exploratory year and in 2020 we created our prototypes and assessment devices. The projects and small trials that took place in the last 12 months have been our laboratory and first beta trials, mostly focused on up to 10 users. We can see that our connected vehicle vaccine has good efficacy and success rates in small trials.
The next stage, like all vaccine development, is the much bigger trials. Often called efficacy trials, these aim to find out whether the technology works, is it safe, and does it lead to safer and more efficient decision-making for drivers. This is our big goal for the next 12 months. Our efficacy work in connected and autonomous vehicles falls under an umbrella term of multi-vehicle coordination. This is quite a new area of work and we will start to communicate more heavily on this going forward.
We liken our R&D cycle to bringing a new drug or vaccine to market
The other side to our strategy is finding out what our technology can do for other organizations. Whilst we can dream of autonomy, the near future is about building out a connected vehicle ecosystem that autonomy will require to function.
Eloy needs to identify where existing costs exist, ranging from the huge expense of physical roadside infrastructure to identifying how technology can remove capital and operational costs in other ways. This has been part of the rationale for deploying multi-vehicle coordination within a SatNav: we can build autonomous vehicle software without needing autonomous vehicles.
Eloy also now needs to be selective and we narrow our focus after a wider expansion in prior years. What are the most promising options to pursue in the short and medium term?
It’s an exciting time. We don’t expect to see as many day-to-day changes but we’re excited to see how much further we’ll get by the time Eloy turns 4.