You can tell about the progress of a country using various factors, and one of them is the road network of that country. There are countries like the U.S.A and China that have vast road networks with remarkable roads, and then we have countries like Africa, which are still finding ways to make their road network better.
Then comes our country India where the condition of the road network falls somewhere between China and Africa. Some cities have flawless roads and perfect system, whereas, in some places, you’ll have to find the road in the potholes. Most of us use Google Maps when we have to be somewhere, and in cases like that, the app suggests the shortest route, but sometimes that route turns out to be a nightmare. One such incident with Dipen and Mishal sparked the idea of building an app that would map the road condition at scale, and that’s how RoadMetrics was launched.
The journey that started without maps
Dipen Babariya, Mishal Jariwala, and Nikhil Prasad Maroli are the founders of RoadMetrics. Dipen and Mishal are childhood friends who did their B.Tech in Computer Science from Gujarat Technological University, Surat.
After completing their graduation they moved to Bangalore to enter the startup ecosystem where they met Nikhil, who had just returned from Silicon Valley after working with Tesla and Velodyne LiDAR.
RoadMetrics is a startup that was founded by the trio, and the startup aims to map the road condition of the country using the software. This software will use image and sensor data to obtain information from a simple smartphone to classify road defects. The idea behind this startup occurred to Dipen and Mishal when they were navigating to a friend’s place using Google Maps, and the shortest path it suggested ended up taking twice the time than the standard one. They realized that they need a map that is customized according to the Indian road conditions.
The initial speed bumps
The most challenging part for them in the development was to gather data as there was no readily available training data set for the Indian road conditions. RoadMetrics had to mine unique Indian road conditions, and carrying out the process in all major metros would require operational efforts.
The mergers and the first milestone
In conversation with TimesNext, Dipen talks about that they started their initial project in collaboration with the Surat Municipal Corporation, and the beta app users were shocked by the accuracy of the application. The app was able to predict road conditions at an efficiency of over 90% without any human intervention.
The market in developing countries such as South East Asia and South America is enormous as they use the road data for early-stage detection of road condition degradation. RoadMetrics is planning to implement LiDAR imaging in the software to enable depth perception and map the complete topography of roads making this India’s first step to semi-autonomous and autonomous driving.
The current growth and vision for the company
RoadMetrics is currently at the pre-revenue stage, and they plan to gain over 20 million users and sign deals with most transportation and private infrastructure firms by 2020 with revenue of over two crores.
Being a data company, they wish to make RoadMetrcis the world’s leading provider of road condition data and drive India towards LiDAR mapping and autonomous driving.