Car Sharing

Another excellent example of the opportunities presented by the connected vehicle concerns new car-sharing services such as Avis’s ZipCar, Hertz on Demand, BMW`s DriveNow, Daimler`s Car2Go, and Volkswagen’s Quicar.

Most of these services function in a similar way. They allow customers to use their smartphone to locate available cars and make a reservation. Once at the car, the customer can unlock it using an RFID chip, and then use an on-board computer (usually with touchscreen) to carry out further identification processes and other types of interaction. Once they have arrived at their destination (usually within a defined perimeter), the customer can simply lock and leave the car. The system will then automatically add the car back to the pool of available cars.

Let’s take a look at the Asset Integration Architecture for such a system. Within the car itself, an on-board computer (running Android or QNX, for example) provides local logic and generally assumes the role of gateway also. In many cases, an LED indicates the car`s status to people outside. This is controlled by the on-board computer, which also integrates with an RFID reader to control access to the doors. Once inside, the driver usually has to enter a PIN number in order to complete the customer identification process. The computer can then use the car’s CAN bus system to unlock the engine and send a message to the remote fleet management system to indicate that the rental process has started. The backend also provides a car-sharing application that manages customer accounts, billing, etc.

This type of system combines many of the features of the other systems discussed. For example, much of the functionality of a traditional fleet management system, including advanced features such as geofencing, can also be found in a car-sharing system.

AIA for Car Sharing Service

AIA for car-sharing service

The car-sharing services described here have the potential to significantly disrupt the automotive industry in the coming decades. There are many interesting directions in which they can evolve. A logical next step extension for the basic car-sharing concept would be the addition of usage-based insurance (UBI) as an extra feature for customers. Or take companies like RelayRides, which have introduced peer-to-peer car sharing: similar to Airbnb, but for cars. Overall, there is clearly significant potential for disruption in this space.