A reader sent us a request to write about the RoadWayve LED car message display.
We had a quick look and realised that is a 2019 campaign that has yet to deliver three years later.
The product’s premise seems simple. Create an LED panel that displays messages when you press a button on the remote. The product shouldn’t be that difficult to produce, in theory. It’s an LED panel with a Bluetooth remote.
So why hasn’t RoadWayve delivered after all these years?
RoadWayve helps drivers communicate with familiar words
and phrases! Built around a bright, pixel-dense LED display,
RoadWayve produces high-resolution messages that are visible
to other drivers up to 50 feet away and through most weather conditions.
After raising over USD 88,000 on Kickstarter, the team raised a further USD 20k on Indiegogo. As for writing, the Indiegogo campaign is still receiving pre-orders for the campaign.
The company is an advertising agency based on its LinkedIn description. This is a rather worrying sign since it shows that they probably lack experience in product development and the expertise to bring the product to life.
The worst case scenario is that they use their expertise in advertising to generate hype and market a product that they don’t plan to bring to life. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, for now.
MOD Worldwide is very transparent with who is behind the campaign. They show the team members and the company website displays their office location as well.
Is it worth it?
There are many LED message signs available on Amazon. The cost around USD 40 to USD 60.
In the campaign updated posted in April 2022, the RoadWayve team showed the pre-production prototype. It took them three years to get a pre-production prototype. They must have encountered many problems during the product development process.
Given the number of solutions out there in the market, it is clear that the product is not difficult to develop, if you have the right expertise.
Don’t get me wrong. It is perfectly fine to come up with an innovative solution, but they should have partnered with an experienced and reliable manufacturer to bring the product to life.
The RoadWayve LED car message display is not rocket science. Most of the parts are readily available. They just need to figure out the casing, PCBA, software, assembly, packaging, and shipping. It might seem straightforward, but we totally understand if it is too much for an inexperienced or unqualified team to handle.
Considering that RoadWayve was USD 134 during Kickstarter and would retail at USD 199, they have a lot of margin to work with compared to the competitors on Amazon selling at almost a fifth of their retail price.
Scam or not?
We want to give them the benefit of the doubt, and accept the explanation that they lack the expertise to bring their concept to life. This and the impact of COVID led to delays, but three years is ridiculously long for a product as simple as this.
If the creators really feel that they are unable to fulfil their promise, the least they could do is to refund whatever they can and admit that the project is a failure. At least the backers can still purchase an existing product and get to enjoy the benefits touted by the campaign.
I hope the creators keep in mind that the campaign doesn’t end after they deliver the products. There is more dignity in admitting failure than to struggle and ship a poor product or one that is not durable at all.