Mobility Use Case

Flexible Use: Carsharing Next Level

Flexible Use Grafik

Everyone knows DriveNow, the car sharing service from BMW. Car sharing is on everyone’s minds these days – and quite rightly so, since on-demand mobility will play an increasingly important role in the transport system of the future. Steadforce has recognized this long ago and is developing the fleet management system for DriveNow in the Flexible Use project. Among other things, Steadforce is responsible for ensuring that BMW always has an overview of where each vehicle with which equipment is currently located, even as the number of registered vehicles increases.

Less and less young people own their own car, even though the need for individual mobility is not diminishing at all and will probably not do so any time soon. This development particularly favors companies that rely on car sharing.

Steadforce is once again ahead of this trend and is developing the fleet management system and part of the invoice management for BMW’s own car sharing service DriveNow.

Our fleet management system enables BMW to permanently receive information on the location and condition of DriveNow vehicles from a wide variety of fleets. This allows BMW to keep track of an ever growing pool of vehicles. Steadforce is entrusted with both front-end and back-end development.

Specifically, we are responsible for the complete data management regarding various parameters. This includes knowing what vehicle it is, where it is currently located, what functions it offers and what kind of communication devices it contains. The latter refers to the so-called car sharing modules, which are used to communicate and, for example, to unlock the vehicle using a card.

The cloud enables

Due to the expected increase in the number of DriveNow users, ever larger amounts of data will arise in the future, which will have to be processed. With the help of cloud technologies, in this case especially Kubernetes, it is possible to guarantee the necessary horizontal scalability.

We at Steadforce are proud to say that we were the first in the flexible use environment to dare to automatically scale horizontally. Steadforce has built metrics that check how busy certain instances are at any given time. If certain limits of utilization are reached, the system automatically scales up so that a target system does not completely collapse when it is overloaded with requests.

A special challenge of this project is also the communication with other systems. Due to the fact that there are many systems and microservices that communicate with different interfaces, several connections have to be established in all directions. As a result, the project is sometimes very complex.

The programming language of the individual microservices is not decisive. What is important is that all microservices are based on a standardized protocol, such as HTTP or MQTT. The protocol determines what is sent out and how communication takes place.

"Cradle to the Grave" – consistent and free of errors

The entire Flexible Use project is run by the 7er Pool, an association of Steadforce and six other medium-sized software houses. In all its completed projects, the 7er Pool has proven its ability to consistently and reliably implement the "Cradle to the Grave" software development process – from requirements management through all process steps, such as design, build and rollout, to maintenance and operation.

There is no room for mistakes, because if services such as unlocking the car do not work, customers lose confidence and may switch to the competition. It is therefore essential to ensure that the service is free of errors.

More stable, more flexible, less expensive
– our customers benefit from this

By introducing DevOps DriveNow achieves better quality and higher stability in operation – with reduced costs for our customer and increased flexibility in implementation.

Market developments are rapid, making it essential for BMW to be able to offer innovative ideas and approaches in the form of new services and functionalities faster than its competitors. It must be possible to implement these quickly within the framework of standardized, agile process models.

SCRUM – the epitome of agile working – has established itself in the market and is already used in many projects at both Steadforce and BMW. Thanks to the transparent criteria for determining the effort required for user stories, administrative work is reduced and waiting times for new requirements are further shortened.

There is a lot going on in the entire Car-Sharing sector at the moment, which is why it is exciting to work in this area and to be able to follow all the latest innovations. In addition to the Flexible Use project, Steadforce is currently working on other projects for BMW. From a technical point of view, these are often similar to Flexible Use, e.g. with regard to Resilience4j.

Steadforce thus bundles knowledge from and for BMW, as Steadforce currently handles several orders from the car manufacturer. This makes Steadforce an optimal partner for BMW.

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