SmartDrive's Telematics Solution Enhances Road Safety

Quick Facts



Customer Profile

Established in October, 2013 and based in Tokyo, Japan, SmartDrive is a leading provider of telematics solution for insurance, fleet and logistics industry. SmartDrive aims to optimize all vehicle-related services by partnering with AXA Direct, a division of the insurance giant AXA Group, to grow and expand its market globally.


SmartDrive needed to send real-time driving data to enable its telematics services and expand its cost-efficient solutions in Japan and worldwide.


Through reliable and secure cellular connectivity, DriveOn and DriveOps solutions are able to detect vehicle malfunctions in real time to prevent accidents from occurring and lower the impact of accidents, leading to improved road safety. Cost and time spent after the incidents are also reduced, as the solutions automatically connect to insurance service centers and emergency roadside services.

Sierra Wireless Products & Services
  • SmartDrive’s DriveOn and DriveOps telematics solutions use Sierra Wireless® HL Series modules to provide reliable cellular connectivity in a form factor that allows SmartDrive to easily expand into any market around the globe.


The automotive industry is at the forefront of the Internet of Things. SmartDrive has a vision to connect all cars and utilize acquired data to improve driving environments and create new business opportunities, such as working with insurance companies to develop usage-based insurance (UBI) programs. SmartDrive’s corporate DriveOn and consumer DriveOps solutions collect and send driving data, such as driver performance and equipment health, through OBD-II devices for telematics services, which have seen growing demand in Japan and across the globe.

One of the challenges of designing an after-market fleet management solution is to maximize usability across the various automotive brands so that when the devices are connected, they just work. Another challenge is keeping operational costs down, since firmware and applications require constant upgrading, devices and connectivity need monitoring, and data must be continually collected. 

For SmartDrive, they wanted to develop a platform to not only support the market in Japan, but also to meet the requirements for expansion into international markets. With all of the planning involved in supporting multiple telecommunications standards and future generations of platform designs, SmartDrive turned to Sierra Wireless for its decades of experience in global cellular markets.

Fleet management icon

Sierra Wireless provides us with a proven, reliable, cellular connectivity solution for our telematics products. The Sierra Wireless embedded solution ensures we take our telematics units to market in Japan, and then into Europe and Asia with the same design.

Retsu Kitagawa
CEO, SmartDrive


SmartDrive aimed to develop devices that can fit into an OBD-II or 12V socket, otherwise known as a car cigarette lighter, in all major car models to maintain safety and usability worldwide. In order to meet the global requirements, SmartDrive had four major factors to consider: size, connectivity, future migration, and cost.
The module size had to be small enough to avoid physical impact to drivers. Sierra Wireless® HL Series modules, based on the CF3™ design standard, were selected in part because they were the smallest embedded wireless modules (22 x 23 mm) evaluated that met the features requirements of the DriveOn and DriveOps in-vehicle applications. 
The solution was also required to cover multiple telecommunications standards for various international markets. Cellular connectivity was chosen for the telematics data transmission because of its wide coverage and low cost. However, telecommunications standards vary in every country, and regulatory approvals and compliance can take several years.  Sierra Wireless’ embedded modules are pre-certified for the most widely used telecommunications standards, which helps SmartDrive to support customer requirements, regardless of location.
Future Migration
Perhaps most importantly, future-proofing was a deciding factor for SmartDrive. The Sierra Wireless HL Series modules are completely interchangeable across 2G, 3G, 4G LTE and LPWA technologies.  The HL Series uses the common CF3 form factor, which is footprint-compatible across product lines and network technologies and will remain fully interchangeable with future versions of the modules, including those for LPWA networks when they become available.
Finally, in addition to basic module price, SmartDrive also needed to consider the investment required to support multi-market, multi-standards and future migration. Sierra Wireless was able to work with local teams to provide cost-effective deployment and support packages.


SmartDrive achieves its key competitive advantage by using standardized modules across major car brands throughout the globe, and by providing cloud-based services to retrieve and intelligently analyze data based on customer and industry needs. SmartDrive has been widening its customer base from insurance to fleet and logistics – and there are more to come. Sierra Wireless’ AirVantage® FOTA Edition offers the added security and operational benefit of free unlimited firmware-over-the-air updates so that customers always have the latest software, which results in drastically reduced operating costs. Users can easily connect modules with central management by using their smartphones, and the data transmission cost is simply included in the initial data subscription fee.

SmartDrive is committed to delivering the most innovative driver safety solutions and their universal platform works seamlessly in multiple markets and within all major telecommunications standards, with easy migration to future generations of embedded technology that enables SmartDrive to expand in a cost efficient manner.

Related Products

Tagged Industries
Logistics Smart Cities
SmartDrive logo





Fleet Management
Smart Cities

Products & Services

HL Series modules 

Contact Us

Subscribe to our IoT Newsletter

Sierra Wireless is now Semtech