Logistics Technology

SAFEHUR – Shaping a vision for safer roads and smarter logistics operations

In this article, Rajesh Rajgor sheds light on the transformative journey of SAFEHUR, initiated by Susmita Pandey and Birendra Bisht, along with a couple of his IIT-Kanpur batchmates as co-founders. SAFEHUR emerges as an innovative force, leveraging advanced technologies to tackle road safety and logistics challenges in India’s evolving landscape. Through pioneering hardware solutions and tailored, data-based counseling, SAFEHUR amplifies driver engagement and enhances safety protocols. With a strategic vision for growth and collaborative alliances, SAFEHUR leads the charge in reshaping the dynamics of road safety and logistics efficiency.

In 2015, Birendra Bisht and Susmita Pandey co-founded SAFEHUR with a vision to harness emerging technologies for combating road safety challenges within the Indian mobility ecosystem. Their endeavor stemmed from a desire to understand and implement solutions that could potentially prevent accidents, drawing inspiration from advancements observed in the US and other Western countries. Birendra Bisht, Co-founder and Head of Product & Technology at SAFEHUR, recalls, “We saw the potential of emerging technologies to mitigate the road accident menace, which was particularly pressing in India.”

The founding team’s initial focus centered on the trucking and commercial vehicle sector; a strategic decision informed by extensive market research. However, they encountered significant hurdles owing to the limited adoption of advanced technologies in India at the time. Undeterred by these challenges, they embarked on the journey of developing their own solution. “We recognized that while the technology landscape in India was still evolving, there was an urgent need for innovative solutions to enhance road safety,” explains Birendra.

Their solution revolved around hardware and IoT systems embedded with a plethora of sensors, such as Lidar, capable of capturing real-time data on driving conditions and behaviors. “We designed our hardware to gather comprehensive data, including live data on road profiles (terrain & conditions) real-time traffic intensity, and the corresponding responses of individual drivers,” says Birendra. This data forms the foundation for providing actionable insights and personalized data-based counseling services aimed at improving driver behavior and overall safety standards.

Susmita Pandey, Co-founder and Head of Business Development, emphasizes the significance of driver engagement within SAFEHUR’s framework. “Our approach goes beyond technological solutions; we prioritize human interaction, offering counseling sessions tailored to individual drivers,” she says. These sessions focus on addressing specific behaviors such as rash overtaking, collision propensity, hard braking or dangerous lane-changes, linking them to tangible consequences like increased accident risk, fuel wastage, tyre wear-and-tear, and driver longevity.

Furthermore, SAFEHUR’s offerings extend beyond mere driver behavior improvement to encompass broader operational efficiencies for transporters and corporates. Birendra elaborates, “We provide comprehensive insights and analytics to assist transporters in optimizing routes, enhancing driver retention, and ensuring compliance with safety regulations.” This holistic approach positions SAFEHUR as a valuable partner for organizations seeking to streamline their transportation operations while prioritizing safety.

Redefining Driver Engagement
In navigating a competitive market landscape, SAFEHUR distinguishes itself through its integrated approach, combining cutting-edge technology with personalized counseling and superior support. “Our aim is not just to deliver technology solutions but to engage and empower drivers, and optimize overall operational efficiency for our customers,” says Birendra. “By prioritizing driver safety and engagement, we envision fostering long-term success and growth within the transportation industry.”

SAFEHUR, an innovator in road safety solutions, operates at the intersection of deep-tech, data analytics, and driver engagement. “We conduct personalized sessions via video or audio calls and record them for further reference,” explains Birendra. This meticulous approach ensures tailored solutions for each client, enhancing the efficacy of SAFEHUR’s services. “Our engagement frequency varies, with a minimum commitment of monthly interactions,” he adds. “However, any trip entering a ‘red category’ or violating predefined metrics triggers immediate feedback, lasting 10 to 15 minutes.”

Susmita delves into client acquisition and growth projections. “Over our nine-year journey, we’ve collaborated with 40+ customers, including transporters and corporates,” she reveals. “Approximately 30-40% of our clientele comprises transporters and freight operators, with the remainder being large corporates.” Highlighting SAFEHUR’s diverse partnerships, she mentions collaborations with industry giants like oil marketing companies, chemical manufacturers, paint companies, and e-commerce leaders. “Each industry segment requires unique guidelines, reflecting distinct driving behaviors and compliance standards,” she emphasizes.

Furthermore, SAFEHUR’s value proposition extends beyond accident reduction, encompassing driver retention and operational efficiency. Birendra elucidates, “Our data-driven approach has yielded remarkable results, with a six-fold improvement in accident rates compared to industry norms”. Strong validation came in 2023 when one of the Safehur-engaged drivers was adjudged the Best Driver from among 20,000 drivers by NICER Globe. Additionally, he underscores their impact on driver retention, citing drivers’ extended tenures as evidence of SAFEHUR’s value proposition. By enhancing driver engagement and satisfaction, SAFEHUR not only fosters safer roads but also contributes to the stability and sustainability of the transportation industry.

Doubling Revenue and Driving Growth
Looking ahead, Birendra outlines SAFEHUR’s strategic roadmap. “With over 15,000 drivers engaged and a vast repository of trip data exceeding 250,000 trips (5+ crore kms), we aim to double our revenues annually over the next five years,” he shares. “Our robust data infrastructure and client-centric approach provide a solid foundation for growth.” Furthermore, Susmita underscores the importance of partnerships in achieving their objectives. “Collaboration is key to our success,” she asserts. “We seek partners who share our commitment to road safety and driver upskilling, exploring synergies beyond technology to deliver integrated solutions.”

Addressing concerns about workforce and infrastructure, SAFEHUR maintains a lean yet efficient setup. With a core team of 15 members based in Noida, supplemented by on-site staff across client locations, SAFEHUR ensures seamless operations. Birendra assures, “Our IT infrastructure, built on AWS, is robust and scalable, supporting our data-intensive operations.” Moreover, their strategic approach to outsourcing certain operations to partners further optimizes resource allocation and enhances agility in responding to client needs.

SAFEHUR’s proactive stance towards driver safety extends beyond reactive measures to proactive interventions based on predictive analytics. Susmita Pandey explains, “By leveraging artificial intelligence algorithms, we can anticipate potential risks and provide preemptive guidance to drivers, thereby mitigating accidents before they occur.” This forward-thinking approach underscores SAFEHUR’s commitment to not only addressing current challenges but also preemptively addressing future risks, ultimately fostering a safer and more efficient transportation ecosystem that drives growth.

Agility and Excellence
SAFEHUR’s commitment to operational excellence is reflected in their lean yet agile organizational structure. With a core team based in Noida and on-site staff across client locations, SAFEHUR maintains operational efficiency while ensuring seamless service delivery. Their reach extends to locations across Maharashtra, Hyderabad, Delhi NCR, Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, UP and Gujarat. Safehur owns the complete value chain comprising (i) devices (ii) data analytics (iii) driver-engagement, thereby achieving superior control over business outcomes for our clients. Automation plays a pivotal role in streamlining processes, from data acquisition to driver recommendations. However, for driver engagement, counseling, and skill-building, they employ a blend of in-house expertise and strategic partnerships.

Susmita highlights, “Our strategic approach to workforce management allows us to optimize resources and scale operations as needed, thereby enhancing our responsiveness to client demands.” This adaptive approach underscores SAFEHUR’s ability to navigate the dynamic landscape of the transportation industry while maintaining a steadfast focus on delivering value to their clients.

SAFEHUR’s journey exemplifies innovation, collaboration, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. By harnessing technology, data analytics, and strategic partnerships, SAFEHUR continues to lead transformative change in the transportation sector, setting new benchmarks for road safety and operational efficiency. With a focus on personalized solutions, strategic growth initiatives, and a robust infrastructure, SAFEHUR is well-positioned to achieve their ambitious goals and drive sustainable impact in the years to come.