A vehicle-related data platform

A vehicle-related data platform

Itransition delivered a SaaS platform and mobile applications that transform the way vehicle owners and companies work together for mutual benefit, now featuring 12M+ registered vehicles.

Case study

A vehicle-related data platform

Challenge

Our customer, German startup MyAutoData (MAUD), was looking to create an online platform that would bring together vehicle owners and automotive companies and provide a range of relevant services for both groups of users.

For vehicle owners, the platform would make it possible to track and manage their vehicle- and driving-related data securely in a centralized digital storage, as well as selling this data to companies for marketing purposes. In their turn, automotive companies could use the platform to access users’ marketed data and generate sales through targeted offers and personalized deals.

With a proven experience in automotive software development, Itransition became MyAutoData’s partner in carrying out the project.

Solution

Itransition developed the suite of a web platform and accompanying mobile apps, which allows vehicle owners to collect, manage, and market their vehicle-related data securely under either the basic or premium plan.

Vehicle owners can store their vehicle-related data (e.g., insurance, registration, financing details, etc.)  in a digitally encrypted form and analyze it directly on the platform. It’s also possible to verify a user’s vehicle to unlock the full features of the service. Users’ submitted data is anonymized and can be revoked anytime.

In their turn, participating companies (car dealers, car insurers, leasing companies, insurance companies, garages, etc.) can buy the data which vehicle owners have opted for selling directly on the platform.

Mobile apps for vehicle data management

To enable managing of trip- and driving-related data, Itransition’s mobility specialists developed mobile apps for both iOS and Android, available to premium users only. In addition to the mobile app, MyAutoData provides each premium user with an OBD2 dongle, a small globally standardized adapter through which most types of vehicle data can be read and made available on the platform.

Via the app, vehicle owners can track the distance traveled, speed, ambient temperature, battery charge level, acceleration, harsh braking, and more. This data is refreshed every 2 seconds and is stored on the platform for 180 days.

The application’s logic is the following:

  • Before the start of a trip, a user plugs in the OBD2 dongle in the socket of their car, connects the dongle to the mobile app via Bluetooth, selects driving behavior (private, business, additional drivers), and sends the current odometer value.
  • The dongle automatically checks whether the vehicle is identical to the one entered in the user account by identifying its VIN (vehicle identification number).
  • When the car starts moving, the app sets the timer and starts reading the user's vehicle data. If the connection is lost during the trip, all the data is transferred to a local database. Every trip has its own identifier, and all measured parameters related to the trip ID will be uploaded when the internet connection is recovered.

Via the OBD2 dongle, the data is transferred directly via Bluetooth and without the involvement of any third party and stored in the local database of the mobile application. Then, from the local database, it is securely placed in the vehicle owner's account via the cloud, appearing as historical data.

The application works automatically in the background even when the device is locked and thus requires minimum user intervention. It’s capable of defining the starting and stopping points of a trip, recovering the Bluetooth connection, and initializing an OBD2 connection to interact with the vehicle diagnostic system.

Data analytics

After successful vehicle verification and data collection, both basic and premium users can calculate the individual costs of their vehicles over any period of time.

  • Basic Cost Analytics allows calculating vehicle-related costs (e.g., insurance, tax, leasing, financing, ownership) over a period of time based on the static data a user has entered before.
  • Driving Analytics allows calculating electricity consumption, fuel consumption, insurance cost, vehicle tax, utilization, average speed, driven distance, number of trips, and more. Calculations are made based on vehicle-generated data and information submitted by users.
  • Digital Assistant Reminders provide valuable tips and reminders, e.g. an early detection of whether the mileage in a leasing contract has been exceeded or is likely to be underused based on the distances traveled so far.

Besides, premium members can download their driving data as a fully integrated logbook in a PDF format for further submission to the tax office to request cheaper insurance offers.

A consumer-to-business marketplace

The platform enables vehicle owners to generate income by releasing their vehicle data for sale on the integrated consumer-to-business (C2B) marketplace. In their turn, registered companies can find almost any data regarding their target audience there.

The information can be presented in three formats:

  • A list of real potential clients (vehicle owners) with no contact data visible and their vehicles according to selected criteria (city, brand, gender, age, etc.).
  • Generic vehicle statistics (vehicles sold, vehicles crashed, vehicles stolen, etc.)
  • A breakdown of auto brands and models, available for download as a CSV file

Vehicle owners can restrict access to their data for registered companies on a field-by-field basis. Granting access to their data allows vehicle owners to generate income as a share of the access fee paid out. The more data vehicle owners unlock, the more income they can receive.

Vehicle owners can track which data fields, when, and by what company were purchased, along with their respective income. They can then withdraw the income when they accumulate a certain amount of money on the balance.

In addition to income generation, vehicle owners can create requests for vehicle-related services directly on the platform, saving time and money through personalized offers with the best price-performance ratio from competing companies. In response to the vehicle owner's requests for a specific service, companies post their offers.

Thus, participating companies receive leads through direct requests for quotes from vehicle owners, generate new sales and save on advertising and customer acquisition.

When a vehicle owner accepts relevant requests, they continue to communicate with the supplier in Messages for discussing the terms of the deal. Further, the transaction happens offline.

Technologies

The system consists of several components: the main portal, the Vehicle-Generated Data (VGD) service, Queries, and the Payment service.

For the main portal, we used PHP, Symfony, and Sonata Admin Bundle for easy creation of admin dashboards. Both VGD and Queries were developed with Node.js and based on a microservices architecture to ensure independent feature scaling.

The VGD microservices included the following:

  • VGD App (the API for mobile apps) records trips and points.
  • VGD Query (the API for backend) aggregates trips data.
  • VGD Analytics calculates trip analytics based on data received from the mobile app.
  • VGD Indexer indexes trips in Elasticsearch so that later they can be used in Queries.

Queries consist of the following microservices:

  • Query App is an API for creating queries.
  • Query Processor aggregates the required data about users in the Query Database.
  • Query Results is an interface for displaying the data.

Our team integrated Stripe for the Payment service to enable companies to buy the lead and query data and vehicle owners to pay for the premium membership and withdraw their income.

We used the Traefik proxy for secure communication between the system and third-party components.

We chose MongoDB as the Queries and VGB service database for its scalability, flexibility, performance, security, and cost-efficiency. MySQL was also used as a relational database. To store cache and user session data, we used Redis.

Results

Itransition’s team has cooperated with MyAutoData for a year, releasing a full-featured SaaS platform and two accompanying native apps for iOS and Android, with the goal to transform the way vehicle owners manage their vehicle-related data and help automotive companies generate more sales and better market their offers.

As of mid-2021, the platform features 12+ million registered vehicles and 110+ thousand companies on the Marketplace, covering 25 countries. In total, MyAutoData has brought vehicle owners over €26 million in income and counting.

Their enthusiasm for the project and their ability to bring input to the table set them apart. I appreciated their understanding of the not-so-simple project and interesting suggestions and recommendations. They're very smart and do their best to make the project a success.

Manfred Heiss

Founder and CEO, MyAutoData