Design Engineering
Showcase

Caura

Student
Sean Bazanye-Lutu
Team
Product Team
Supervisor
Prof. Peter Childs
Role
Product Intern
Sector
Automotive and Aerospace

During my 6-month placement period, I had the opportunity to spend some time working at Caura. Founded in 2018, Caura is a tech start-up situated in the automotive space with one simple mission, to make life easier for motorists. Caura makes owning and driving a car as simple as possible, allowing for tax, insurance and even a range of parking locations to be paid on their easy to use app. During my placement, I worked within the Product team, which also allowed me to partner with other teams on a range of different projects that will be detailed on this page.

 — Caura
 — Caura

Demonstration of Design Engineering Thinking and Skills

Working in a fast-paced start-up, I have had the chance to see the real benefit of agile project management strategies and how they can be adapted to fit the specific needs of a company. Throughout my many projects at Caura I have seen the business focus shift and work priorities follow suit. This environment has helped me grow in confidence in my design engineering skills and my ability to complete work unassisted to a professional standard. A few projects I conducted during my time at Caura can be seen detailed below

Congestion and ULEZ charge filtering

Vehicles in the UK must pay Congestion and ULEZ charges on their vehicles if they enter their respective zones and depending on the vehicle’s specifications. The vast majority of vehicles in the UK will have a vehicle approval type and a European emission status, subject to the age of the vehicle, and these are the main factors affecting the rate a vehicle is charged

My task was to develop a filtering system to allow the Caura app to display the correct charges for specific vehicles once their details were added onto the platform. This required me to conduct extensive research to fully understand the terms and exemptions affecting charge rates and also Caura’s backend process. This allowed me to isolate components in the vehicle data files Caura received from their data provider and create a grouping to allow for charges to be displayed correctly. I took my research one step further and found an API that would allow Caura to check whether a vehicle meets the ULEZ standard from just their registration number, simplifying the implementation process for this system.

Audits and Analysis

Data is very important to a company and its accuracy can affect their growth, brand image, and user experience. At Caura, data related to a user’s vehicle tax, MOT, and vehicle specification is requested from data providers and is stored on their platform. The accuracy of this data is important to ensure smooth user experience and reinforce trust in Caura’s brand.

I was tasked with conducting a data audit on all the vehicles stored on Caura’s platform, ensuring the data Caura was receiving was accurate according to official records. This required going through over 6000 different vehicles, and I was given a day to come back with preliminary results and findings. After spending some time on the task, I realised it wasn’t feasible to have the work completed by the assigned deadline and that the method I was using wasn’t efficient. To overcome these issues, I requested an extension from my supervisor and decided to teach myself AppleScript so that I could automate the audit process. I was given an extra day to produce results and the automation script I developed allowed the audit to be conducted at a faster rate and didn’t require my attention, which meant it was able to run overnight. This allowed me to meet my deadline and my analysis of the results highlighted key points that my supervisor queried with the data provider.

Role and Contributions

During my placement at Caura my work and contributions have saved time, energy, and effort for the company. As a Product intern, I was given the opportunity to work on projects of real importance to Caura’s future and to leave my mark on the company.

I have conducted extensive research into new fields Caura wishes to explore and have documented the pros, cons, feasibility, and my own recommendation as to how said field should be entered. For example, my work on referral marketing highlighted key metrics that allow for a successful campaign and my proposed campaign structure has been onboarded and will be used to build Caura’s own referral marketing strategy

I most recently investigated error messages that are returned from the parking feature of the app, categorising them, and commenting on their theorised causes. This will allow Caura to better understand the most common issues users encounter on the app and solve said issues even faster. This project showed me Caura’s constant drive to improve user experience and how important it is to never settle for just functional.

Furthermore, I was tasked with looking into other parking providers that could be incorporated into the Caura app and decide which ones should be added onto the platform. Upon conducting this research, I realised that Caura had already covered the providers that have a large monopoly on the market. I then took it upon myself to research any adjacent markets Caura could go into and largely based the scope of this research off feedback that had been sent in by users. From this, I was able to present my findings to Caura’s senior leadership and as result was asked to further my research and investigate how feasible it would be to integrate said markets.

Summary

Working in a start-up has allowed me to work on real industry projects and feel real value from my work. I have been held accountable and seen myself rise to the expectations of my colleagues, feeling like a valuable member of the team. This placement has allowed me to learn more about myself and ambitions, and I would recommend those looking for a placement to consider smaller companies, as the experience can be eye-opening.

 — Caura

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