There’s a subset of people out there that aren’t just “car enthusiasts,” they’re “driving enthusiasts.” For them, driving isn’t a matter of going from place to place, it’s about feeling in control. As they take the steering wheel, they mentally analyze the grace of their every turn, and the smoothness of each brake. It’s the closest they come to feeling like Tony Stark in in his Iron Man suit.
Tim Huang and Duoyuan Chen are both driving enthusiasts and Iron Man fanatics – and when they’re not busy collecting figurines of their favorite superheroes, they’re hard at work developing Driving Curve, an app that measures a driver’s performance on the road.
Currently available on iOS, Driving Curve uses the iPhone’s built-in GPS sensors and the team’s own algorithms to measure and track data points like abrupt acceleration, hard braking, the average speed of a trip, and other basic measurements. The app also includes reward badges, global leaderboards, and social features that let users compare their stats with Facebook friends.
Before they ventured out into the startup world, Huang had spent time working at a desktop case manufacturing company in Suzhou, while Chen practiced his design chops at JWT’s branch in Taipei. A love of driving, data, and turbo-charged design led them to quit their jobs and start their own mobile app company. Just months after they launched Driving Curve in March 2013, the company obtained seed funding from TMI, the Taipei-based VC firm and incubator.
“TMI focuses a lot of startups that have potential to integrate with hardware. Lucas [Wang, CEO and partner at TMI] saw a lot of potential for us to develop towards hardware and data collection, so he felt we were a good match,” says Huang.
Now that the Huang and Chen have been tinkering with Driving Curve for a year, they’re now aggressively gathering user feedback in order to soup up the app’s technology and feature set. They’ve also formed working relationships with the Intel-NTU Connected Context Computing Center, a research organization headed up by National Taiwan university and the global chip maker, to help them make use of the data that Driving Curve collects. The app is currently free-to-download, and the founders expect it to remain that way for the forseeable future.
A slew of like-minded driving apps are currently on the market, most notably Dash, which pairs with Bluetooth-enabled ODB devices to provide real time feedback on performance. Huang and Chen know they’re up against some fierce competition, but they’re betting that their app’s slick interface and social features will help it stand out and gain traction.
Driving Curve can be downloaded for iOS here.