Meet the founder – Marcus Robbins

In the second of our series of interviews with the Eloy team, today we’re chatting with Marcus Robbins, Eloy’s CTO.

Hi Marcus! Can you tell us about your role at Eloy?

I’m responsible for all of Eloy’s technology and, as our products are software based, the underlying products. I have been spending a great deal of time pushing the iOS app in recent months – including the use of new tools available to Apple developers. I’m now looking forward to enhancing the data and machine learning solutions which we call the “Eloy Engine”.

How did you first get started in AutoTech and InsurTech?

In a previous career role, I worked on geospatial software – which included mapping technology. So the sat navigation element to Eloy’s app is not a new concept for me.

With some experience in geospatial software, I have built up a great deal of “what-if” technology ideas that would enhance drivers’ interactions with their cars. Voice-controlled sat nav is currently very limited – which poses great risk if you don’t enter the destination’s details before driving. The last mile – for deliveries, meeting people and directions to holiday destinations are all still quite limited too. Sharing routes and being certain the other person is sent the same way is also not perfect. Finally, the roads have been well mapped for time and distance but we have very limited understanding about road section complexity – and this will dramatically vary from person to person. We know drivers avoid certain road layouts and tricky turnings – but nobody is helping them do that with technology.

I find all of these very interesting and the scope for AutoTech, with the pending arrival of autonomous vehicles and more electric vehicles is a great time to embrace technology improvement.

And how did your career develop?

I studied computer science at university, so I was well set up from the start of this century for software development. I didn’t join a large blue-chip employer, which meant I spent more time on building software solutions that were both deployed and I could have full visibility over the build – often building entire solutions myself.

How do you see the car industry changing in the next 10 to 25 years?

We can all see connected cars, electric cars and even autonomous vehicles arriving this decade – probably supported by governments trying to push ahead in this new market. However, another interest of mine is augmented reality and I also see great improvements here. On a basic level, this includes illumination windscreens, where the speedometer is no longer hidden behind the wheel. I see windscreens that are able to flash warning signals – such as pedestrian warnings – that can work with autonomous braking, such as MobileEye, and intelligent route finding.

What do you do when you’re not building Eloy?

I wouldn’t be a CTO without some form of technology-based hobby. For me, it is 3D-printing. I have always admired product design and building architecture and lacing together layers of printed nylon to create working toys is pretty exciting.
Marcus's Machine

A machine for recording a light field image into a photolithographic plate behind a lenticular lens.

I am currently making whistles, floating tables and personalised USB port cleaners but do hope to expand my repertoire over the next few months. Who knows – perhaps a phone cradle for the car or a widget to use with Eloy might be on its way soon!

What most excites you about Eloy?

First of all it is really nice to see a number of innovative features working in a live app. We haven’t seen many other examples of these features so believe we have been quite groundbreaking with the app. Less visible is the back-end technology that enables the front-end to work – a bit like the paddling feet of a swan – and this is what excited me the most.

Connected car services are less about the front-end design if app users need to keep their eyes on the road. For me, it is about the new services we can build for car users that haven’t yet been thought of. These will be based on our back-end “Eloy Engine”