Derive Systems: Providing an intelligent experience for vehicle owners and drivers

About Derive Systems

Derive Systems helps customers maximize vehicle performance by collecting real-time data and using that data to enable customers to optimize the driving experience, including fuel economy and driver safety. Derive Systems is based in Colorado with offices in Florida and Idaho, and started optimizing vehicles in 2003.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States

Derive Systems uses Google Cloud to power its vehicle intelligence platform, which analyzes real-time driver data and transforms insights into customized software upgrades for each customer's vehicles.

Google Cloud Results

  • Consistently delivers 8% to 12% fuel savings and reductions in emissions for customer vehicles, as well as productivity increases powered by BigQuery analytics
  • Helps ensure smooth deployment for thousands of customer vehicle fleets via scalability
  • Improves Derive platform reliability and performance through high uptime
  • IOT Core delivers excellent reliability for a large number of 24/7, real-time connected devices

Upgraded more than 2M vehicles to date

From driver safety to vehicle efficiency and environmental sustainability, Derive Systems helps customers improve their automotive experience by upgrading vehicle software to be mission specific. While Derive had long thought of itself as a traditional hardware and software provider, the company sought to expand the scale of its products to support future growth.

Instead of simply suggesting how drivers can be safer or more efficient, Derive taps into vehicle software to change how a car drives – via the vehicle's control systems themselves. Derive previously targeted enthusiasts interested in vehicle performance customization, but saw an opportunity to expand into broader consumer and fleet markets. As part of this push, Derive explored ambitious features that included fuel economy optimization by changing engine performance and teen driver controls to save the lives of learner drivers on the road.

"With Google Cloud Platform, we have a cloud platform that can scale and consistently communicate with vehicles on the road. When we were planning our migration options, the conversation quickly locked in on Google Cloud Platform due to its reliability and it's been a major contributor to the Derive platform's success."

Marco Della Torre, Chief Technology Officer, Derive Systems

In order to deliver these features, Derive needed a robust IT infrastructure that could support the platform's new requirements, as vehicles on the road would constantly be interfacing with Derive hardware, software, and analytics for optimal service in a variety of conditions. The Derive team knew that its business model shift would see a new level of demand created for reliability of service at scale in a real-time, connected context.

"Our business today is much more about delivering vehicle software and collecting data insights at scale. Shipping hardware enables the product, but our business is very much a software and data platform," says Marco Della Torre, Chief Technology Officer at Derive Systems. "Our platform goals made us rethink our approach towards scalability."

For Derive, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is the central driver behind its new infrastructure. From data storage to fuel economy analysis, GCP supports millions of vehicles on Derive's platform and helps customers maximize every aspect of their vehicles' performance.

"With Google Cloud Platform, we have a cloud platform that can scale and consistently communicate with vehicles on the road," says Marco. "When we were planning our migration options, the conversation quickly locked in on Google Cloud Platform due to its reliability and it's been a major contributor to the Derive platform's success."

"Google Cloud Platform allows us to expand both the scale and quality of data sourcing on the Derive platform. We're leveraging these resources to substantially improve the driving experience for customers, the safety of our roads, and the impact of the automotive industry on the environment."

Marco Della Torre, Chief Technology Officer, Derive Systems

Driving a better car

The Derive platform is built around Derive VQ, a solution comprising a physical networked device that plugs into a vehicle's OBD-II port (which is a standard port for interfacing to the vehicle's control systems and data) and a smartphone app that connects the ecosystem of driver, vehicle, and Derive's technology. Leveraging a mix of cellular data and local Wi-Fi networks, the Derive VQ device tracks a wide variety of vehicle data for analysis. With the Derive VQ solution, Derive can not only monitor information including driving speeds, a vehicle's location, and whether or not the driver has fastened a seatbelt, but also change how the vehicle operates based on this information, for example preventing ignition until the driver's seatbelt is fastened.

Derive goes beyond data tracking for vehicles and drivers. With BigQuery, Derive has deployed features including optimizing idle RPMS to reduced fuel usage and capping maximum speed to help deliver safety results to every vehicle. According to Derive, customers can see an average reduction in fuel consumption of anywhere from 10 to 30 percent, a huge benefit to the cost of operating vehicles and to the environment.

GCP resources provide support for every aspect of the Derive ecosystem. The company's platform is built on Cloud IoT Core, which is the pipeline that more securely brings driving data from customer cars and the Derive VQ device into Derive. Derive relies on Firebase to manage its industry-leading installation velocity. When installing technology in a fleet of 10 thousand, 20 thousand, or 30 thousand vehicles, every second counts. The performance and reliability of Firebase has been a significant benefit in this area. Cloud Dataflow and BigQuery support the platform's data processing needs and analytics dashboard, while Cloud Functions assists with tasks including data routing and pushing system updates.

"Google Cloud Platform gave us the breathing room to build out the Derive platform. By not having to construct and manage all of this IT infrastructure in-house, we can spend more time on client-driven development and innovation."

Marco Della Torre, Chief Technology Officer, Derive Systems

"Google Cloud Platform allows us to expand both the scale and quality of data sourcing on the Derive platform," says Marco. "We're leveraging these resources to substantially improve the driving experience for customers, the safety of our roads, and the impact of the automotive industry on the environment."

With the performance improvements made possible by GCP, Derive has also explored future machine learning integrations with resources including TensorFlow. Potential machine-learning-powered features could include incentive programs that dynamically encourage drivers to save fuel or put on their seatbelts, based on past behavior.

Reliable customer service

Thanks to its platform's scalability, Derive serves major corporate customers. For companies with thousands of employees making deliveries or service calls on the road daily, Derive has been a valuable way to optimize fleet performance and reduce operating costs. But unlike standard consumers who might only need better gas mileage, these major enterprise customers pose a unique challenge for Derive, as the company needs its platform to consistently delivers meaningful fuel savings and works during thousands of vehicle deployments or thousands of software updates at a time.

With GCP, Derive reliably meets the needs of these customers. GCP uptime helps eliminate the risk of extended service outages for Derive and its customers, supporting steady performance during vehicle deployments and daily operations. GCP also helps Derive establish full-platform security from customer vehicles to the cloud, maintaining protections for sensitive employee data and Derive VQ at every step of the data lifecycle. Derive also credits Google support for being responsive and helpful with troubleshooting any platform management issue.

"Google Cloud Platform gave us the breathing room to build out the Derive platform," says Marco. "By not having to construct and manage all of this IT infrastructure in-house, we can spend more time on client-driven development and innovation."

Helping drivers drive

Software has traditionally taken a backseat to hardware in the automotive market, as rigid ecosystems placed a ceiling on the work that third-party developers could accomplish. But by harnessing GCP to bridge software and hardware to directly optimize car performance, Derive breaks through this barrier and gives customers a new layer of value and control over their vehicles.

"By unlocking vehicle software and optimizing engine performance for any scenario, we're providing versatility that simply wouldn't be available on a stock vehicle," says Marco. "GCP allowed us to accelerate time to discovery, development, and delivery on these foundational platform innovations."

About Derive Systems

Derive Systems helps customers maximize vehicle performance by collecting real-time data and using that data to enable customers to optimize the driving experience, including fuel economy and driver safety. Derive Systems is based in Colorado with offices in Florida and Idaho, and started optimizing vehicles in 2003.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States