5 Things You Need to Know Before Developing a Car App

Few years ago, the car apps market was quite limited: automobile companies were showing the lack of interest in the area of automotive app development. That’s why car app developers saw no earning potential there. But everything has changed since 2014. The relationship between automobile industry and mobile apps developers has undergone a 180-degree turn.


Giants of automobile industry launched a massive campaign to attract a large number of both big and small IT-companies in order to expand the range of car built-in programs. With the increase in demand, the supply factor was increased too. Now developers are guided not only by the needs of the automotive market. They work closely with vehicle enterprises, working for the long-term future.

At the present day market of the connected vehicles is growing fast which gives an opportunity for Forbes analysts forecast the revolutionary way for the vehicle app development, similar to the way of smartphones on the market of telecommunication systems. If in 2013 there were 23 million connected cars all over the world, by 2020 this number will be increased to a 152 million.


According to Allied Market Research, the global market share of connected vehicles will be increased each year by around 33% and in four years will get to a $141 billion point. But as each individual segment of mobile apps market, the car apps market also has its own characteristics. There are 5 things  that need to be considered before developing a car app.


1. Set of Features


Before creating automotive apps it’s necessary to establish the set of features that driver will use while driving. It is obvious that features like gaming, watching YouTube channels and social media surfing during the movement aren’t convenient and no longer relevant because of safety issues.


The most popular features that can be preferably placed into the auto application are:

  • Voice calls and notifications.

  • Voice commands.

  • Navigation and location.

  • Maps.

  • Music and radio.

Developers may also complement existing app solutions with specified features. For example, navigation service can be complemented with anchor points setting or organizer.


Let us say, the driver has planned to get to the groceries store on the way home. When the car passes by a given store, app triggers voice reminder. Car app also can remind driver about particular birthday date when he drives by the flowers shop.


But in order to gain a firm foothold in the car apps market, developers need to offer a fundamentally new product. Good ideas and creative approach will always be good assistants in the creation of entirely new services.


Let us consider main functionality trends which are extremely popular on the car apps market today.


  • Telematics. Car apps that are related to telematics – the idea of such connection is to improve safety on the road, allowing driver to stay in touch in case of emergency or even to prevent it. For example, features like automatic sending of  SOS message in the case of accident or the ability to track current location of a stolen car.


With telematics features on board, car app will be able to record all data related to an accident: car position, speed rate at the moment of impact, braking distance and so on. This information may also be useful if the insurance company will have any questions. Of course, one can say that all these stuff is already present in auto DVR, but such devices don’t always give a complete picture.

  • Road Safety. One important concept also can be implemented in car apps for safety reasons. What is it about? While the application is running, such data as average vehicle speed on a certain stretch of road, the number of emergency brakings, the average time of movement with increased speed is collected by app (depending on the settings, collected information can be transmitted in real time or saved to the device memory).


In the case, if on the particular road section driver exceeds the average speed level (according to app data), he automatically will get a voice message. Alternatively, system can notify driver that other cars have slow down.


Drivers will also like car apps which increase quality of driving. An example of such a service is a Glass Water Toyota app. When you run this application glass of water appears on the screen. The task is not to spill a single drop from the glass during the trip.


  • Ergonomics. Ergonomics features can ensure the safety of traveling on long distance. Couple of sensors mounted on the driver's clothing can transmit to the app such data as respiratory rate, heart rate and heart beatings. App compares this data with the standard values and if something goes wrong sends voice message to a driver. This will protect driver from overdriving or will not let him fall asleep.


There is a sufficient number of gas stations and maps applications around. Developers improve car app services by adding to them pricing comparison of different gas stations which gives a possibility to select the most economical route. It will eventually improve the driving quality and will provide the most economical fuel consumption while traveling.


  • Remote Control. Remote access avalibility is a quite interesting feature. With the help of this web based setting car owners can control the vehicle via a smartphone or any other gadget. Also, remote access allows to find the free lot on the busy parking.

Car applications can store a lot of information about parking, road signs, traffic rules, tables, fines, etc. Simply, app can be some kind of a scheduler, which helps driver not to forget to pass the inspection or to re-up insurance policy in time.


  • Parental Control. No doubt that parental control feature can also be a great deal. It can provide the ability to receive alerts and track young drivers when they go beyond allowed boundaries or exceed the permissible speed limit.


2. Stability


The most significant difference between automotive applications and typical mobile media application In the ability to work smoothly in extreme situations. We mean high speed, vibrations, temperature changes and humidity.


It is very important to pay attention to this aspect when developing a car application. In addition to it, developers always try to develop a car app that requires minimal participation of the driver. Driver’s safety is a basic requirement for the automotive industry.


3. Selling a Car App


There are two ways to sell products on the car app market. The first one is to develop a car app that will be directly installed on the vehicle or to place app in the corresponding category of the factory store (“supply products”, for example). In this case, developers will be obliged to interact with only one particular automaker, who will make his own demands. There are some legal issues of such cooperation and it can take up to six months for developers to deal with them.


The second method is simpler. Developers just place their car applications on the app markets for different platforms (iOs and Android). In this case app will get car data using manufacturer API or using the OBD-II key. In the first case, it is obligatory for the developers to sign a distribution agreement with the manufacturer. In the second case users just need to buy and install the hardware key. This method is relatively new and key database solution has a weak support on the market.


4. Software Development Methods


Depending on how do we want to run the smart car application there are 2 ways of car apps development. For the first one, car application is developed on the basis of the vehicle head unit. In this case app (Android Auto or Apple CarPlay for example) may be launched either through the dashboard or through a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) that is associated with the vehicle. For this method API-interfaces like MirrorLink and SYNC are usually used.


For the second case, car application can be developed with the help of cloud technologies and may run on any device, just using car data from the cloud. Access to car data can be obtained using manufacturer API.


According to Forbes research, more than 20% of cars sold in the world in 2015 had a built-in connection system, more than 50%  were connected either through the tethering system or via a smartphone. By 2025, every new car will have several options for connecting.


5. Niche


If we’ll try to compare media apps and car apps usage rate we’ll see that for auto apps market there is clearly enormous room for further growth. At the same time, noone can see strong competition in this niche because automotive apps market is relatively young.


The main task for the car apps developers is not just to provide comfortable movement on the road, but to take driving to a next level with the help of modern technologies. This meaning lies within the concept of connected vehicle or as it’s called a smart car.


It is planned that in 2016 car apps market will see a single-line control technology. According to this new concept car will be able to move on it’s own even in a heavy traffic or traffic jam. In 2018 we wait for “multi-band control" technology to appear on the market: the car itself will assess all the risks and will change the road line if it’s necessary.


Automotive technologies are developing rapidly. That’s why more and more companies are looking for the possibilities to enter this market.


Bottom Line


Today we tried to cover the main benefits of the car app development and to give a few tips on how to get started. Of course, there are more to talk about but car apps success depends on, first and foremost, the development company. Only if you hire automotive app developers that are professionals in what they are doing you can be sure you will get great product.

Archer Software always tries to find the best solutions for clients. Our company for more than 15 years offers a reliable IT-service for business companies. Contact us and our managers will provide you with full feedback about terms and prices of car apps development. Don’t hesitate and hire your success now. info@archer-soft.com.