Modern users are able to quickly master even complex technologies if these technologies can make their lives easier. Customers value the convenience and simplicity of digital transformation. Automotive business owners have realized this and aspire to satisfy the needs of their audiences for advanced technology when choosing, buying, and operating cars. We will share how one automotive business project managed to cover five promising trends and expand its reach to eight countries.
Trends that are transforming automotive businesses
PwC - a company providing IT consulting services - has stated that the car of the future is an electrified, autonomous, shared, connected, and yearly updated vehicle. It possesses characteristics such as mobility, simplicity, and individuality for users. Let's take a closer look at each of these trends.
Some sad statistics: in 1950, carbon dioxide emissions amounted to more than five billion tons. By 1990, this figure increased to 22 billion tons, and now humanity releases more than 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year.
In light of the fact that the world community is concerned about the growth of harmful emissions, car electrification is becoming almost the main trend of digital transformation. Automotive business owners are seeking solutions that will reduce the negative impact on the environment. The idea is to charge cars with electricity generated from renewable sources.
The rapid development of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and neural networks is helping to create autonomous vehicles that operate without human intervention. According to PwC experts’ estimates, by 2030, self-driving cars will account for 40% of sales in Europe. Other studies show that today, there are about 1,400 self-driving cars on US roads, and the number of adherents is growing.
- Sharing, updateability, and connectivity
Many major cities offer car-sharing services, which affects car sales. Along with the increased use of the vehicle fleet, fewer cars per capita will be required in the future. PwC Autofacts estimates that, by 2030, the number of cars in Europe could decline by 25%.
At the same time, new car models with improved hardware and software will be produced more often. Also, in the future, people will be able to communicate, work, and access the Internet while traveling by car due to the implementation of the connectivity function.
Daniel Newman, the Principal Analyst at Futurum Research, also highlights tendencies towards digital dealing and the use of Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence.
- Digital dealing
Previously, buying a car would take a lot of time. A buyer had to study the advertisements and negotiate with the seller. At the same time, consumers were not completely sure about their choice.
Today, buyers get information about a car on the Internet before they even go to a showroom. This has become possible thanks to online showrooms, such as Audi's virtual showrooms in London, where cars can be viewed in detail from both the outside and inside. Car rental contracts are concluded remotely as well, without a trip to the rental office.
- Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality technology not only improves user experience and sales but also ensures driver safety. AR gives the opportunity to look through traffic - for example, to notice that a giant truck is driving somewhere ahead of you. This makes driving safer than before.
Among striking examples of implementing digital transformation are the experiences of such companies as Volvo, Mercedes, and others. The Volvo Polestar brand sells its Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 models exclusively online. And Mercedes-Benz uses blockchain to track emissions of gases into the environment.
This experience is applicable to both large companies and small businesses. We will tell you about a project our team worked on. With that project, our customer implemented five of the above digitalization trends at once and carried out effective business process optimization.
Ufodrive — a solution for electric car rental
The Luxembourg-based company Ufodrive rode the digital wave three years before experts started talking about digital dealing, electrification, and Big Data. The team was hit upon with a hot idea - to rent electric cars like Tesla, Nissan Leaf, Jaguar, and other similar vehicles. In fact, from the very start, the company has implemented two digital transformation trends at once - electrification and sharing.
Our team didn’t start the project from scratch. The company already had Android, iOS, and web apps, as well as an internal admin site for order management. The developers were tasked to improve the functionality by adding options that would be interesting and useful for renters.
Ufodrive thought of an online car rental mechanism even before social distance fully emerged. This frees clients from having to visit the office in order to sign a contract and pick up the keys. The renter installs the application, scans their driving license and ID, pays for the rental, and receives a unique key for unlocking the car via Bluetooth.
We had a small problem with this feature: there was no access to Bluetooth units that were far away from us. Due to this, we had to create simulators and interact as closely as possible with the customer's representatives testing the solution on real cars and giving feedback. But this challenge was successfully overcome.
Before finalizing a rental agreement, the driver goes through an automated checklist. The user comes close to a car, launches the checklist, and receives step-by-step instructions for checking the condition of the car. The client can leave a comment or take a photo and point out any problems (for example, scratches or dirt) that the car already has. All this makes the rental process as transparent and user-friendly as possible.
Simplicity and operability
Our team has implemented technologies for auto-generating the necessary documents and recognizing the differences between a "live" face and a photo of a face. This helps to prevent fraud and save time that previously would be spent on entering data manually.
Since our goal was to make car rental convenient, we added a number of simple and useful options. An interactive map displays the location of electric cars, their battery charge level, drive range in kilometers, and the nearest charging station. The booking form now includes additional options for insurance, child seat selection, navigation systems, and other equipment. In addition, we have created an interactive rental calendar, where one can select the city and time of rental, car model, and mileage. And if the user specifies the planned trip distance, the product will automatically calculate the cost of the service.
What we achieved
The solutions that are implemented in the Ufodrive app are inclusive and eco-friendly. Thanks to digital transformation, the company has expanded its reach to eight countries. Carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced by more than one million kilograms. The project helped to popularize the use of electric vehicles in Europe, where there are enough free public stations, and charging a car fully takes less than half an hour.
Now drivers can rent budget-friendly and premium cars at any time of the day without queues, paperwork, or physical handover of keys. This service format brings Ufodrive up to 30% savings compared to the old model.
We accept any challenge and create high-quality and innovative products. Reach out to Andersen’s Business Analysts for market research services to develop a solution and conduct the discovery phase of the project, and our development team will help with its subsequent implementation. We are sure that a good strategy combined with high technology and skills of professional Android and iOS developers, including Java developers, Python developers, and other specialists will allow businesses to introduce new ideas and take a strong position in their niches.
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