Drust enables drivers to obtain a real-time analysis of the state of their vehicle and also compare their driving performance with others, thus helping to keep the car running reliably and economically.

The recent launch of Season 6 of the Paris-based startup accelerator ‘boot camp’ Le Camping saw Drust unveil its bid to help drivers take full advantage of the connected car trend. Drust’s product provides a means of analysing the state of your car in real time. In the firm belief that the smartphone can revolutionise the way people drive and maintain their cars, the startup’s founders, Michael Fernandez, Florent Pignal and Pascal Galacteros, decided to make available to the general public a technology that up to now has been used exclusively on test vehicles. The Drust system makes use of a device already on the market, which plugs into the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) port in your car and gathers all functional and driving data on the vehicle. The Drust system then uses Bluetooth 4.0 technology to send the information to your smartphone, which has been equipped with the necessary software. The founders, all engineers who had previously worked in the automotive industry, are looking to promote smarter driving, educating car-owners in new driving habits. Going beyond the basic precision analytics, the system will offer you advice on how to drive from A to B and make fuel savings, with some added gaming features. 

Driver takes charge

Drust’s basic value proposition is to use the data gathered directly from the car to help guide the drivers’ approach and improve their performance, inter alia educating them to adapt their driving habits in order to reduce their fuel bill. The founders argue that small, simple improvements in driving habits, such as selecting the right gear and accelerating and braking in a more measured way, can help save up to 30% on fuel costs. In addition, the software provides users with precise advice, depending on the car. Fitting the right tyres and choosing the right engine oil and fuel grade are just a few of the variables which, when approached correctly, help get the best energy performance out of your car.  The service goes even further. Not only does Drust offer you the means of obtaining information on your driving – gear selection, road speed, etc – in real time, it also keeps you abreast of the state of health of your vehicle, pinpointing the source of any problem or breakdown. Moreover, in order to engage more closely with drivers, the Drust team have added a social platform where users can share journey plans or compare fuel savings with their friends, thus adding a touch of fun to the service.  

Fostering trust

“In Drust, there’s trust” is the mantra of the three founders. By getting drivers more closely involved in the state and diagnostics of their own cars through hard data provision, Fernandez, Pignal and Galacteros reckon they can also promote greater trust between car owners and garage mechanics. Although at first sight Drust might seem to undermine the professionals whose job it is to assess the state of a car, the Drust team argue that owner knowledge and service reliability in fact go hand in hand.  Basic lack of information about the causes of vehicle breakdown can in turn lead to a breakdown in trust between the two parties. When a driver is able to share accurate data directly with the garage mechanic and discuss repair/service requirements confidently with the professional, this often leads to more accurate diagnosis and more reliable repairs, stress the startup team. With the Drust system, all the ‘events’ leading up to a breakdown can be retraced, helping both mechanic and customer and ensuring that their relationship is based on openness and trust.
By Arthur de Villemandy