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Device prevents vehicle mishaps

Tech entrepreneur Rivoningo Mhlari is making waves in the technology space.
Tech entrepreneur Rivoningo Mhlari is making waves in the technology space.

Ever heard of fault detection information systems for cars? Tech entrepreneur Rivoningo Mhlari and his business partner are making waves with their fourth industrial revolution device called Rikatec.

Founding CEO Mhlari and COO Jesse Matheri's Joburg-based company, also called Rikatec, makes information management systems for vehicles.

The company uses large data and machine learning mechanisms to detect vehicle breakdowns, provide information on vehicle wear and tear, and creates driver profiles as well as ratings for insurance companies and financiers.

Mhlari, 25, says that in 2013 he was inspired by the new information age and come up with the device with the intention of introducing a totally new phenomenon to the motor car industry.

"Rikatec is fitted to all makes of cars; it can detect faults in a vehicle. And once a fault is detected, a signal is sent through indicating which part of the vehicle is faulty," explains Mhlari. "It is a measure to prevent unnecessary breakdowns, [by analysing] the possible causes of the fault. All this is transmitted by Rikatec, which uses remote diagnostics performed on the vehicle every second. It is suitable for cars manufactured after 1996.

"It sends the data to the back end systems for advanced analysis. It can also link the vehicle owner to the nearest registered help option within an 8km-10km radius of the fault. This is meant to minimise risky driving habits and break downs."

Mhlari says most of their clients are fleet vehicle owners and they are also making inroads in the taxi industry to assist both drivers and taxi owners to transport passengers without experiencing unforeseen breakdowns.

Rikatec holds a number of patents. It is approved by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), according to Mhlari.

"It wasn't an easy road. We had to do research after research and more research. One prototype after the other was tested. Testing was done even out there in the field. Icasa didn't spare us; they did a lot of tests as well," Mhlari recalls.

"We have offices in Cape Town and Joburg but our footprint is national," he says. "Our installers include PG Glass, among others. The device is 100% manufactured in South Africa."

Mhlari says motorists with the device benefit by receiving rebates from insurers and low-risk drivers get cash back. "It's all about accountability and becoming informed about the car you drive. It's all about being proactive."

The most important aspect of the device, says Mhlari, is that it "improves prediction of vehicle longevity, assists in determining insurance and warranty premiums, thus helping in enhancing the resale value of the car".

Clients buy the units and pay a monthly subscription for the monitoring service. The company provides employment to 37 people directly and indirectly in Joburg and Cape Town.

Mhlari implores funders like the National Empowerment Fund to provide those entrepreneurs playing in the tech and fourth industrial revolution space with financial assistance.

As one of the youngest technology executives in the country, Mhlari featured in Forbes Africa's 30 Under-30 technology list last year.

Mhlari, from Phalaborwa in Limpopo, is an accountant and met his partner, Matheri, also 25 years old, while they were students at the University of Cape Town.

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