Car Sharing App Development - Trends in the Niche & Expert Tips
Environmentalists have warned for many years that the development of the automotive industry, namely the yearly growing sales of cars with gasoline engines, causes irreparable harm to the environment and accelerates the destructive processes in our ecosystem (associated with global warming). That is why people from highly developed countries are trying in every possible way to minimize the consumption of fossil fuels.
It can be done in different ways, based on personal preferences and budget. Some change SUV to a bicycle, some install propane engines, some buy electric cars, and some try to use public transport as often as possible (instead of a personal car).
It would seem that the use of public transport should help significantly in solving environmental problems. On the other hand, it is the number of inconveniences that this kind of transportation carries in itself that forces people to abandon it in favor of a private car.
This feature reviews the concept of carsharing from several perspectives by both inspecting the most relevant respective trends and touching the subject of mobile software industry; in particular, the development of a dedicated carsharing application.
Carsharing is a special kind of car operation, in which those who use them may not actually own the used vehicles. That is, the car is rented by a few users either from the car park owners or from individuals. A specific vehicle is used when it is free. Thus, it allows saving on the acquisition of private transport while not denying yourself the benefits that are available to true car owners. Moreover, if spread wide enough, this practice will reduce the stress on the city’s infrastructure and amount of traffic jams.
If you cannot afford to buy a good enough car and maintain it, carsharing will allow you to gain all the benefits of this type of transport with minimum possible investments. There are several usage patterns based on the transport ownership:
The car owner provides several pre-assigned users with the opportunity to use the car when they do not travel themselves, upon a specific schedule, or even permanently, for a fee. The widespread of modern technologies and mobile terminals allows the tracking of the current position of the vehicle, its employment, and also compile and control the schedule. Moreover, there is an option to share a car to anyone who needs such services.
Several persons or a certain community acquires one or more cars in joint possession for the purpose of operating in accordance with the principles described in the first paragraph.
3. Private (Corporate)
A company or a group of companies acquires a fleet of cars (of the same or different types), places them at one or more parking sites, and allows those who wish to use these vehicles to rent them. This model is a special case of car rental. Additionally, the company may hire courier drivers whose duties are to deliver the vehicle to the customer, pick up rental cars where the customer leaves them, or act as a driver/delivery agent, if necessary.
Completely analogous to the third point, the difference is only in the form of ownership of vehicles and jurisdictional boundaries. We should note, though, that many large cities in developed countries have either already created carsharing services or are planning to do so. Examples are Washington (DC), Vancouver (Canada), and Bremen (Germany).
Carsharing - an Excellent Way to Generate Additional Revenue
Some new car owners after a few months of active use conclude that their income does not adequately cover the costs associated with driving and technical maintenance. In this case, carsharing can be an ideal way out. Renting out their car for some time to other drivers, they will be able to receive a certain monetary compensation.
Carsharing is the Best Opportunity to Change Public Transport to Something More Convenient
Unfortunately, not always does the traditional public transportation meets all the passenger requirements. Some do not like the speed of the trip, some - the traveling conditions, some are confused by the large number of transits. In addition, often at the time of buying a ticket for public transport, all seats are booked, and to reach the destination at the right time without resorting to the services of private carriers was previously impossible.
Previously, it was impossible before the advent of ride-sharing apps and services. The most effective solution to all the problems above is the organization of joint use of the transport. By the way, according to expert forecasts, by 2030, every tenth car will be used as a shared vehicle, to reduce the trip cost when recalculating for one person.
How Modern Technologies Help in the Organization of Carsharing
Let us review the modern technological achievements that help to organize joint ownership/usage of cars and transform the auto industry itself.
1. Provided by car manufacturer:
Eco-friendly engines. One of the main and basic technologies used in modern carsharing services are alternative propulsors as substitutes to petrol prototypes. In particular, electric and hydrogen-fuelled vehicles are becoming increasingly affordable for purchase. Additionally, they have a positive impact on the environment due to the absence of harmful emissions.
GPS receivers. GPS systems allow the tracking of the current position of the car in real time and the routes traveled, without the need to connect to the internet.
Internet of things (IoT). All kinds of sensors, detectors, actuators, security devices (sonars, lidars, etc.), other devices based on the concept of IoT (connected to a network), allow exploiting vehicles and planning routes (transport logistics) extremely efficiently.
Communication devices. In order to make the process of the carsharing as convenient as possible for all users (first of all, to provide communication between them), car manufacturers connect them to various networks using radio, Wi-Fi, cellular (GSM/CDMA, 3G, 4G, 5G) modems.
Unified computerized control system. Management computer allows for the centralized collection and analysis of data provided by sensors, unites all of the subsystems of the vehicle into a single whole and optimizes the operation of mechanical and electrical parts of the car (battery charge, clutch, brake system, safeties, etc.)
2. Provided by third parties:
Web services. Websites dedicated to the topic of carsharing are an excellent opportunity to organize a universal platform for carsharing that would be available anywhere in the world where there is internet. Moreover, a lot of additional services can be provided through the internet including the on-demand management AI.
Artificial Intelligence. Artificial intelligence, operating on a base of above mentioned built-in computer or over the network connection, independently collects, structures and analyzes the data from all the sensors. Also, AI studies the behavior of the car’s subsystems, drivers and other vehicles in traffic, provides the autopilot functions, and nullifies the risks associated with the human factor. With time, centralized AI-s will regulate traffic and deliver shared vehicles to drivers that requested it or perform the taxi drivers’ functions.
Web applications. Web applications allow for effective interaction between individual users of the same car (for example, you can create a kind of online chat where participants would post ads on participating in carsharing and agree on an optimal schedule for using the car). Unlike websites, web applications can be endowed with functionality that can work productively in offline mode (without the internet connection).
Mobile applications. In fact, mobile apps work similarly to the web apps described in the previous paragraph. The only difference is that their format allows employing the full extent of the specific functionality of personal mobile devices.
Mobile applications are the most advanced way to implement your ideas in the sphere of carsharing if you are not one of the manufacturers in the automotive industry. This is where you can fully use the custom smartphone functions, such as camera, GPS, accelerometer, contact book, etc.
Well, are you planning to make your own ride sharing app? Next, we will describe the main features and trends of these programs.
Getting Ready for the App Development: Platforms for Efficient Car Sharing
In order to maximally simplify the procedure of formulating the list of car renters and usage schedules, special apps were invented. Such software can adequately provide an appropriate level of usage quality at the expense of the public car rating system, in which other users will be able to rate their own experience about specific cars or services.
If you decide to create ride sharing application, which in the long term should go public (on the internet or at software marketplaces like App Store or Google Play), its launch should be preceded by a completely standard procedure consisting of researching the consumer market, designating the target audience, and analyzing competitive solutions.
What is nice is that the target audience of such software is already well researched and the best practices of its implementation can easily be evaluated by studying such popular solutions as DriveNow, CityBee, uberTrip. Moreover, an effective car sharing app development cannot do without the detailed evaluation of features and the shortcomings of its competitors. Thus, we kill two birds with one stone.
Anyway, since 2015, similar services started to appear like mushrooms after the rain and begun to actively transform the auto industry. To “stay afloat" and not get lost among the competition, you need a team of experienced professionals who would help you to determine the win-win set of ride sharing app features.
Carpooling App Development: What are the Mandatory Functions?
Usually, when reasoning on how to develop a car sharing app, customers mean a mobile solution with pretty standard functionality. Moreover, in 9 out of 10 cases, they devise a way to make a ride sharing app like Uber, which would be based on terrain maps and geolocation data. You also want to get something like that, do you not? Let us review the features that every such app should have:
Maps. To employ them, developers connect special APIs for geolocation data processing; in the case of Android, this is Google Maps or Google Places API, in the case of iOS - CoreLocation.
Timer routines. Countdowns from the time of payment or when booking a car beforehand is provided by the introduction of special timing routines into the application.
Calendar (allows scheduling a travel date or compiling a vehicle usage queue).
Electronic payment gateway. To ensure the capabilities to conduct the electronic payments, you will either need to create your own gateway for the safe processing of payment data (which would be an arduous task and a notable accomplishment by itself) or integrate your app with an existing solution (for example, Stripe).
User profiles. In addition to working out the main profile fields (contact details, photos), you also have to take care of the possibility of rapid authorization - for example, Facebook OAuth or Google OAuth2.
Push Notifications. In order to be able to notify users about the status of their order or free cars available near their location (this is necessary in cases where your software is not a property of a particular rental company), you will need to connect some API for sending the push notifications. For these purposes, Apple Push Notification Service is used for iOS and Google Cloud Messaging Service for Android.
Further, at will, you can supplement your automotive application with such useful (though not mandatory) features as:
Support for different locales. If you strive for global success, it would be great if the app was available not only in English.
A rating system based on user feedback. It is very important to create the most favorable conditions for your customers to choose a suitable car. To inspire trust in your service, simply create in the application a rating system that would contain real user feedback about particular cars, rental stops and/or companies.
Online messaging. You can give your users the opportunity to contact the owners of shared cars or employees of the car-renting agency online.
Possibility to order a back call. This is another rather simple option, which, nevertheless, significantly improves service quality.
Regional price monitoring. This is useful in cases where your application is not "tied" to any particular company, organization, or person.
The Bottom Line
As you could already understand, mobile apps these days are the basis of the process of carsharing services organization. However, in order to make such software as convenient and easy to use as possible, it is better to entrust its implementation to real professionals. In particular, we at Archer-soft are ready to offer you the most favorable terms of cooperation. As a result, literally after 8-12 months, you will get a completely ready solution that will meet the most stringent user requirements.