Intelligent fleet management for a new generation of mobility

Mobility of the Future

As the automotive industry is increasingly expanding its business to include services in addition to production, the concepts of car sharing and ride hailing are becoming the key areas of passenger transport where innovations are being driven forward. For this reason, a multinational car manufacturer has turned to Concept Reply to develop a next generation ride hailing service.

The customer's goal was to expand its existing cloud platform to manage fleets of manned or, in the future, autonomous cars and to offer a luxury ride hailing service. The solution developed includes an app for customers to book trips from one location to another within a business area or simply to reserve a car for a certain number of hours – without having to touch the steering wheel in either case. The fleets consist of luxurious vehicles and customers can, for example, choose breakfast or control which radio station they want to listen to while on the road. A trip can either be made immediately or the customer can choose to be picked up at a specific time and place, for example at the airport at the scheduled arrival time.

The drivers, in turn, are equipped with an app that navigates them through their trips during the day. The information from the apps as well as from the vehicles is processed by the backend services to provide all the functionality that characterizes this service. Based on the current position of the vehicles and the ongoing or planned trips, the backend intelligently matches customers to the vehicles by optimizing the estimated arrival time.

The system forecasts the demand for trips in specific areas of the destination city by analyzing data sources such as demographics and business concentration. The distribution of vehicles in a fleet is then optimized by allocating them among the city districts in such a way that they can meet the expected demand. The situation is monitored continuously and in real time, at which point the system decides where a vehicle should go after a shift starts or after the end of a journey, and whether it should change position while idling, for example to meet high demand near a station during peak commuting hours. This strategy reduces waiting time for customers and allows operators to maximize the potential of their fleet. The system is highly configurable and allows operators many options to adapt to their business.

A uniform infrastructure

The services implemented by Concept Reply perform all the computation necessary to enable and optimize all the scenarios described here. Within the same infrastructure it must be possible to map several fleets of different types of various operators of different sizes and with different requirements. One and the same platform also supports the introduction of mobility services in several cities around the world, where one of the challenges has been to comply with all country-specific regulations.

Using a CI/CD approach and a cloud-based microservices architecture, functions and troubleshooting could be quickly put into production without downtime. Requests for additional features by fleet operators can be transferred to the productive system within a very short time and the possibility of quick feedback helps to steer development in the right direction.

Equipped for autonomous vehicles

The future will require a multitude of additional features, especially in the field of autonomous mobility. Currently, autonomous vehicles are still subject to many restrictions and they will initially have fixed pick-up and arrival locations. The customer will therefore have to walk to the nearest vehicle, similar to what already happens with car sharing services. The responsibility of the backend is to optimize the time of arrival of the customer to their destination taking also into account walking distance to and from pickup and drop-off locations and the time it takes for a vehicle, which could be potentially performing a trip, to get to the pickup location. Thereby wait time for customers and idle time for vehicles are reduced.