Lahore-based start-up launches app to replace car keys

Published: March 8, 2016
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PHOTO: CAR CHABI/FACEBOOK

PHOTO: CAR CHABI/FACEBOOK

Two young entrepreneurs in Lahore have teamed up to create an app that lets you control your car from your smartphone.

Aptly named Car Chabi, the app lets you do away with your car keys. You can lock, unlock, start, and stop your car from your phone. It also lets you secure the car and turn the AC and heater on/off from a distance of about 50 – 80 feet.

Hammad Yasir and Muhammad Ali Rashid, both only 23 years of age, are the brains behind the business venture which was initially only intended as a do-it-yourself project. “The idea originated after we graduated from FAST-NU. We discussed what could be the smallest thing that could be installed in a car which could help people in their everyday lives. The answer was Car Chabi,” Yasir said while speaking to Express Tribune.

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Soon after graduation, the two electrical engineers took up regular nine-to-five jobs, but encouragement from friends and family drove them to take their idea to the next level.

“For us, a 9-5 job was a drag; it was like repeating the same thing over and over again. I felt that both of us were wasting ourselves and we could do better than what we were doing. Somehow, we were like the two pieces of a puzzle,” Yasir, who worked as a maintenance engineer for the Metro Bus project in Lahore, said.

“We had our doubts with this, but we had no clue that this would spread as much as it has now,” he added.

Hammad Yasir and Muhammad Ali Rashid PHOTO: Hammad Yasir

Self-funding their way, Yasir says they saved up a huge chunk of their pay to invest in their business venture. “When we started working on Car Chabi we had to use most of our pay for the app because making a product and then making it flawless takes a lot of time and money. And we have come this far by boot strapping.”

As far as security issues are concerned, the duo say the device is quite secure as Bluetooth has a two layer protection, MiTM protection and an Alphanumeric pin.

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The two, who began selling the device in November last year, have big plans for the venture. Ali Rashid explains that they are working on increasing the number of items that could be controlled by phone. “We intend to replace the redundant security system and remote starting systems. The world is advancing at a very rapid pace and Internet of Things (IoT) is the next big thing and Car Chabi is just the first drop of rain. We aim to revolutionise Pakistani market and give exposure to the people of Pakistan with IoT.”

“Car Chabi is going to be the pioneer, by revolutionizing the auto mobile industry and giving people complete control of the car via smartphone, because people deserve more,” he added.

The 23-year-old insists Pakistan is the best place for start-ups. “This country is the best place to start something of your own because there are lots of things which need improvement. Therefore, people need to look for shortcomings around them and try to improve them by using their talent.”

He encourages the youth to think out of the box. “You just don’t become an engineer to be part of some firm and copy/paste the codes and circuits from the internet. You need to stop complaining about the problems people are facing and start working to solve them.”

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In March 2016, the two got incubated in the seventh cycle of Plan9- PITB’s Tech incubator, which is an incubation center formed by the Government of Punjab to support young entrepreneurs.

The Car Chabi kit costs Rs6000 and the installation charges are Rs1500. It offers free delivery all over Pakistan, with the company even having sent kits to Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well.

Here’s a demo of how Car Chabi actually works:

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Reader Comments (3)

  • Zubair
    Mar 8, 2016 - 5:11PM

    As long as it’s secure this sounds like a great product. I think they should change the pricing though. Make it subscription based so that they can continue to fund the development of the software. It seems like they are leaving money on the table by making it a one time fee.Recommend

  • imran
    Mar 8, 2016 - 5:58PM

    Risky.Recommend

  • Khan
    Mar 23, 2016 - 7:09AM

    This app will only work with imported cars with key-less entry & key-less ignition. It will never work with locally produced cars or even imported cars with key ignition!!!Recommend

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