Zubie: Auto safety driven by big data

About Zubie

Zubie is a connected-vehicle services company that lets consumers and businesses track relevant vehicle health, location, and safety information. Through the simple plug-in Zubie Key smart device, users can easily monitor vehicle data with the Zubie mobile app.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States

Zubie uses Google Cloud Platform to help make driving safer. The Zubie Key plug-in device collects vehicle data, analyzes it in the cloud, and provides real-time feedback through the Zubie mobile app.

Google Cloud Platform Results

  • Delivers smart car telematics analysis in near real-time
  • Supports big data analysis without requiring database tuning
  • Decreases IT oversight, improves developer agility and productivity, and enhances security
  • Deploys Google BigQuery in under 3 days for $250,000 less than it would have taken to build a similar solution onsite

Cuts up-front software and hardware costs by $250,000

The business of bringing vehicles online is evolving from devices that record what triggered the “check engine” light to real-time, web-based vehicle diagnostics and driver safety evaluation. Zubie is at the evolution’s forefront, leveraging big data to help prevent the light from going on in the first place, recommend where drivers can go for service, and estimate what it will cost.

Users simply plug a Zubie Key into the onboard diagnostic port (OBD-II), which is usually under the dashboard below the steering wheel of cars built in the United States since 1996, and voila, the car becomes part of the Internet of Things.

“It’s a complex ecosystem built around speed and instant information, and the pace of change is only going to increase. We can’t afford to use a platform that is less than rock solid in terms of scalability and performance.”

Steven Zeng, Director of Solution Architecture and IT, Zubie

The Zubie Key collects data from the vehicle’s sensors and engine controllers and any available vehicle-to-everything (V2X) resource, and then sends it to the cloud for analysis. Relevant information is returned to the driver via the Zubie mobile app. Zubie also offers business solutions that integrate with third-party systems for customers such as fleet vehicle operators, automobile dealers, insurance companies, and app developers servicing connected audiences.

“It’s a complex ecosystem built around speed and instant information, and the pace of change is only going to increase,” says Steven Zeng, Director of Solution Architecture and IT at Zubie. “We can’t afford to use a platform that is less than rock solid in terms of scalability and performance.”

High performance under the hood

Collecting, analyzing, and delivering large amounts of data in real-time requires high-powered compute and database resources. Zubie chose Google Cloud Platform because it provides the right combination of performance, price, and scalability.

Google App Engine serves as the front end and primary data tool. It retrieves data from the Zubie Key and mobile app and stores it in the Google App Engine data store. Zubie uses Google BigQuery for real-time analytics and Google Compute Engine for applications that cannot run on Google App Engine. Google Cloud Storage supports data exchange between various systems and serves as the main data archive.

Google Cloud Platform fits Zubie’s budget without forcing a performance compromise. For example, the company’s Google BigQuery implementation required no upfront technology investment, and took only about two and a half days to set up.

“I’ve worked on analytics projects at other companies where we needed a minimum of $250,000 just for software and hardware,” says Steven.

Big data, small turnaround

Zubie is trying to use the speed and agility it gains from Google Cloud Platform for competitive advantage. Google BigQuery is a large part of quickly conveying accurate information to customers because it supports rapid data sampling without requiring database tuning.

Google BigQuery also helps Zubie understand and adjust to data inconsistencies caused by the absence of industry standards for vehicle telematics information. For example, Google BigQuery parses diagnostic data that differ by vehicle maker and model.

“We were able to act nimbly because with Google App Engine we didn’t have to worry about infrastructure. And with NoSQL, modifying data models was a snap—data model changes made in the code will be automatically persisted in the data store.”

Steven Zeng, Director of Solution Architecture and IT, Zubie

“By understanding the differences in how each vehicle behaves from a data standpoint, our development team can adjust for these and give accurate scores in real time,” says Steven.

Google Cloud Platform flexibility and simplicity helps improve developer productivity too. When the company was founded in 2012, Zubie’s early data models changed weekly and developers honed in on customer preferences and strategic directions.

“We were able to act nimbly because with Google App Engine we didn’t have to worry about infrastructure,” says Steven. “And with NoSQL, modifying data models was a snap—data model changes made in the code will be automatically persisted in the data store. This made changing data schema and deployment very easy.”

Google App Engine features such as the user interface and command lines for major features also accelerate productivity for developers. Even ones without much experience generally start coding in the first month or so.

By maximizing the productivity of Zubie’s human talent, Google Cloud Platform helps the company respond faster to the market and modify its products accordingly. The platform’s advanced infrastructure lets the company devote more resources to enhancing core app features instead of IT maintenance. Plus, the integration of scalability and high availability into platform components such as Google App Engine also improves IT efficiency and Zubie product performance.

“Having something that I know will auto-scale puts me in a very comfortable zone,” adds Steven. “We don’t have to spend much time researching how to respond in the event of a traffic spike.”

About Zubie

Zubie is a connected-vehicle services company that lets consumers and businesses track relevant vehicle health, location, and safety information. Through the simple plug-in Zubie Key smart device, users can easily monitor vehicle data with the Zubie mobile app.

Industries: Technology
Location: United States
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12 Months FREE TRIAL

Try Kubernetes Engine, BigQuery, and other Cloud Platform products with $300 in free credit and 12 months.

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