Cheetah Advanced Technologies

A community based road hazard and safety location system that allows members to verify and contribute data to a comprehensive database.

Introduction

The challenge

Since its founding in 2003, Cheetah Advanced Technologies has accumulated a wealth of data mapping valuable road information across the world, which they have aggregated within their Trinity 3.0 Database. This database is in large part what makes the company and their products so unique, as all the information that is input by users is closely monitored, confirmed, and updated by Cheetah Advanced Technologies to ensure accuracy.

Existing problem

Cheetah had a unique, high quality collection of data, but no easy way to manage it. When Cheetah approached us, they were dealing with a database of over quarter of a million locations world-wide. It was clear to the Cheetah team that they needed a better way to manage such a vast amount of data.

Proposed solution

Transform the existing Trinity 3.0 database into a cloud hosted data management tool, which would form the basis for allowing users to access the wealth of road information on the move through a convenient mobile app.

Workshop sessions

From the start, Bad Dinosaur was excited about the complexity of the Cheetah Advanced Technologies project. The team were eager to help Stuart turn his ideas into an app that would be easy to use for customers, while also including all the valuable information and features that had made earlier products so popular for so long.

When Stuart first sat down with Kyle and Russ in August 2017, they all quickly realised that a project of this size was full of exciting possibilities, but it would need to be broken down into manageable steps in order to maintain focus and keep positive momentum throughout the development process.

Through the early collaborative meetings at the Bad Dinosaur offices in Edinburgh, it was decided that the project would be broken down into three main components:

  1. Turning the Trinity database into a cloud hosted data management tool
  2. Creating Geotag: a web application where users manage and update their Live Alerts
  3. Creating Ride Aware: a smartphone based app for iOS and Android

We knew that the opportunity for growth was there, and the most logical way to expand our customer base beyond hardware purchases was by providing access to our road safety system through a phone app. The project was always going to be a big and complicated one, but when we met with Bad Dinosaur, they instantly gave us the confidence that they could handle something of this scale.

Stuart Smith, Director of Cheetah Advanced Technologies

Stuart Smith, Director of Cheetah Advanced Technologies

We helped Stuart to understand the value of the data that he was managing and why resilience, integrity and security of the data was paramount.

Russ Peterson, Director of Bad Dinosaur

Russ Peterson, Director of Bad Dinosaur

Cloud hosted data management

We held a series of product design workshops to understand exactly what data was being stored, and how Stuart and the team currently manipulate the data. The wealth of data already stored would be the base for both the in-vehicle 'Ride Aware' app and supporting 'Geotag' data managment web application.

The decision was made to deploy the Cheetah global database to the Bad Dinosaur managed cloud hosting platform. This means that Stuart doesn't need to worry about the infrastructure behind his product, as Bad Dinosaur ensures the monitoring, security and scaling of the application is taken care of by means a reliable, fully managed and scalable system that would be easily scalable as the project grew.

Geotag

Allowing users to interact with and build the global database was a priority for the project. Through the workshops, we decided that the interface should be map based and it was clear that speed was a big factor. It was taking the team far too long to add new locations - the process had to be as slick as possible.

A slick process meant we needed to design a slick interface and get it infront of Stuart and the team as fast as possible. We showed a working prototype from the first week of development, from which Cheetah could offer their expert opinion and determine the direction for the next iterations.

Throughout the MVP process, the Cheetah team came in for weekly project updates and after a few weeks we gave them their own version of the software to try out. This helped us to fine tune the interface in the final stages of the project, as well as iron out any UX issues and bugs. The release version of Geotag brought together the earlier developments in a refined format which allowed mobile and desktop users to view and edit Tags on a roadmap, create new Tags, see feedback history and save offline journeys.

Stuart knows his customer base extremely well, which helped streamline development on GeoTag. His vision of fostering a responsible community designed around giving users full visibility of local traffic safety data was one we could easily get onboard with. Stuart’s ability to make great decisions about product development and direction were invaluable, and we all enjoyed working with him here!

Ian Henderson, Developer, Bad Dinosaur

Stuart knows his customer base extremely well, which helped streamline development on GeoTag. His vision of fostering a responsible community designed around giving users full visibility of local traffic safety data was one we could easily get onboard with. Stuart’s ability to make great decisions about product development and direction were invaluable, and we all enjoyed working with him here!

Ian Henderson, Developer, Bad Dinosaur
Ian Henderson, Developer, Bad Dinosaur

Ride Aware

Ride Aware was to become the 'on-road' assistant for drivers and bikers. Drawing on data from the Trinity database, it would alert users to all types of community tagged road hazards and verfied safety locations. Usability was the priority for the design as users were to be able to tag potential hazards on the move. This of course meant limiting interactivity to a simple series of actions, to limit the risk of driver distraction. The interface design allowed users to click once to drop a safety tag and alert others to a road hazard, double click to confirm an active speed trap or tap and hold to let the community know the threat has ended. From here, the user could edit the details of the tag using the Geotag feature once their journey was complete.

I worked originally with Russ and Kyle on the data management project, then Nicky came on board for Ride Aware, and then I worked mainly with Ian on GeoTag. But what was so helpful throughout was that Kyle, who was on the project from the start, would always dip in-and-out of meetings, check-in with me on progress, and make sure that things were always going forward in a way that everyone was happy with.

Stuart Smith, Director of Cheetah Advanced Technologies
Stuart Smith, Director of Cheetah Advanced Technologies

The future

With the arrival of the Ride Aware app for iOS and Android, as well as the GeoTag web application, Cheetah Advanced Technologies has successfully made the leap to offer a product that has maximum customer outreach, both in terms of the number of customers that can be accommodated and their range of geography.

On top of being able to easily sell to customers across the globe, the creation of the world’s first hands-free road hazard sharing app also means that using the product is safer than ever, something that has created particular interest from motorcyclist and motorcycle manufacturers.

The original plan for Ride Aware was that it would be sold directly to consumers, but after recently visiting an industry show in Birmingham Stuart noticed a growing interest in the product from motorcycle manufacturers. This opportunity for B2B sales is an emerging and exciting new path for Cheetah Advanced Technologies, and one they plan to pursue alongside their primary strategy.

For the team at Bad Dinosaur, we look forward to seeing what success the road ahead holds for Stuart and Cheetah Advanced technologies, and we are extremely proud of the work we’ve done on the Trinity 3.0 Database, Ride Aware, and GeoTag platforms.

Our main focus is to provide our services not only for car users, but to have a product that is equally designed for motorbikes. In fact, our latest product, Ride Aware, which includes a SmartButton attachable to a steering wheel or handlebars, is the first hands-free interactive product of its kind. Mile for mile motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to be involved in an accident, so having access to an alert system like Ride Aware can make a real difference to their safety on the road.

Stuart Smith, Director of Cheetah Advanced Technologies

Stuart Smith, Director of Cheetah Advanced Technologies

One of the great advantages of creating an app based product is that it gives you real freedom to expand your customer base in ways you might not have thought possible before, and when it comes to a product like Ride Aware, with its focus on road safety, that is a positive thing for everyone involved.

Russ Peterson, Director, Bad Dinosaur

Russ Peterson, Director, Bad Dinosaur