A car engine that blew up inspired Mark Sutheran to develop a little black box that could help to revolutionise motoring.
The former Ribble Valley man, who now lives in Singapore, quit a high-flying job in investment banking to devote the past two years developing Clickdrive, a multi-purpose car information and management system described as “a second brain” for the car.
The plug-in dashboard device connects a car’s own computer systems
via mobile phone to the Internet cloud, letting the user download driving applications.
It can monitor a car’s performance to aid fuel efficiency, trace its location, help plan routes, follow journeys, record accident data like an aircraft’s “black box.”
There are endless possibilities for other apps yet to be devised, and the public can find out more on www.techinasia.com/black-box-car-intelligent
Mark’s family lived in Padiham and Burnley before moving to Clitheroe Road, Sabden, in 1987, and Mark attended Altham Primary School and Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Blackburn, before leaving Lancashire to study at Edinburgh University.
He was working in London for investment bankers Leeman Brothers when the company crashed and he lost his job, but found another post with Standard Chartered in Singapore.
He quit after two years – “I’d got fed up of banking,” he said.
The seed for Clickdrive had been sown years earlier when car enthusiast Mark, working in London at the time, fitted a turbocharger to his Fiat coupe, and unwittingly set the petrol/air mixture too lean.
“It did some damage,” said Mark (39). “Bits started exploding out of the crank case.”
Mark thought it would be useful to find out what a car’s computer is “thinking” but the technology did not exist then. Mobile phone networks and the internet have since moved on, and Mark was able to develop his product, putting the parts together himself.
Other inventors have devised gadgets that perform similar functions but Mark believes his Clickdrive is quicker and more versatile. It can even help car modifiers to soup up the engine...without blowing it up.
Mark and company co-founder Rishi Saraswat made a protoype which is being launched on a ‘crowdfunding’ site (clickdrive.io) where each of their backers will get a Clickdrive when it’s launched.
They hope to raise enough financial backing to have Clickdrive manufactured and launched internationally in November.
“If we don’t raise enough, everybody gets their money back,” Mark said.
“Within the next five years I believe every car will have a smart connected device.”
Mark Sutheran: “Every car will have a smart connected device.”
Mark’s invention, the Clickdrive black box.