Coyote is a pioneer in community-based road alerts. Now, the company has teamed up with HERE to add turn-by-turn navigation in the latest version of its iCoyote app. We talked to Coyote’s Franck Louis Victor to find out what sets it apart from other driver-alert apps.
As head of products and services at Coyote, Franck is in charge of a dedicated team of designers, project managers, developers and engineers all working to fine-tune the iCoyote app.
“Coyote was founded ten years ago before smartphones as we knew them even existed. We started with in-car devices and were one of the first community based systems that lets drivers share real-time information on speed limits, dangerous conditions, traffic hazards and current traffic,” says Franck.
Since then, the company has forged partnerships with automakers to embed Coyote’s real-time alerts into the in-dash navigation system and has developed its own smartphone application, iCoyote.
HERE has been a key technology partner for Coyote since its early days providing key map data to supplement the community updates. Franck explains:
“Although previous versions of the iCoyote app didn’t display maps, we did use HERE map data for the basis of our speed limit updates. The fact is that HERE map quality is one of the best.”
The existing partnership wasn’t the only reason for Coyote to select HERE when it wanted to add turn-by-turn navigation to the iCoyote app. The latest version of iCoyote introduces a ‘freemium’ model (you’ll get free navigation and real-time traffic updates, but have to subscribe if you want extras like speed camera alerts) and is a big departure for the company.
“It’s not so easy to have a partner which would be ready to go straight to a new freemium business model, but we formed a good commitment with HERE,” says Franck.
Thanks to HERE, Coyote will be able to offer its users a dynamic navigation system based on detailed, reliable and continually updated maps. Combined with information and alerts provided by the community of Coyote users, this service also delivers up-to-the-minute information about traffic conditions and incidents that could cause delays, enabling drivers to choose an alternative route.
Developing an accurate driver alert system
So how does Coyote manage to deliver such accurate driver alerts? With nearly 5 million people making up the Coyote community, the company has a vast network of people to source information from:
“The traffic announcements are based on the position of our community in real-time, which we analyse anonymously. That enables us to show the traffic jams and accurately calculate the time of arrival.
“It also lets community members report the things they see, from speed cameras to obstacles in the road - anything that can affect other members of the community.”
Those reports from members of the Coyote community are what makes the system so reliable, according to Franck, with each member – or ‘scout’ – rated depending on the accuracy of their reports. The better rating a scout has, the fewer scouts are required to verify reports, so that real-time information is delivered more quickly to other drivers.
On the server side, Coyote has also developed a proprietary algorithm that takes other factors into account, with Franck explaining that it depends on the location, the time, the traffic and the grade of the scout. This helps them filter the alerts and weed out any false notifications, something other free services aren’t able to do.
Despite having been around for years, the new version of iCoyote feels like a new start for the company, and Franck explains that the Coyote is also working on bringing the app to more European countries alongside France, Spain and Poland, and hopes to expand to other continents.
iCoyote app is available to download in France, Italy, Belgium and Spain on Android and iOS now.