Understood in a broad sense, in accordance with the English original, car sharing is the set of activities related to the use of a car by several people; this definition therefore also includes car pooling and ride sharing activities. So what is car-sharing? Car sharing means, precisely, sharing a car.
Strictly speaking, car-sharing is an essentially short-term car rental service, where cars are provided by a company (private or public) and distributed in city centres. Customers, once registered for the service, can normally choose and book the car via the Internet. Access to the car is normally via the downloaded App or a specific card.
Carsharing originated in Switzerland and is widespread in the US, the UK, Germany, Australia and many other countries. In Northern Europe, in particular, it has reached a level of professionalism thanks to the presence of operators capable of guaranteeing reliability and safety.
These days, car sharing solutions are rapidly gaining momentum and are even taking over different countries. Some people have given up their own cars in favour of carsharing, while others are still bypassing them. Let's try to understand what is this foreign word that everyone has heard of, how is the carsharing service organised and how does it work?
Let's take a typical carsharing service as an example and look at the interaction of all the components of this complex mechanism.
All cars are displayed on the map in real time, both for the client and for the call-center operator. In order to keep the information constantly updated, the server "polls" cars with a certain time-out. The operator sees the entire fleet in the CRM and may manage absolutely any car, regardless of whether it is currently rented or in the status of "free".
In a generic car share software the following options are available for CRM users (the set of options depends on the configuration and modification of the telematics equipment installed in it)
Service geofence is an area marked on the map, in which particular carsharing provider operates. That is, within this area, the operator guarantees that the client application and telematics equipment will work properly. How does it happen that the car leaves the geo-fence zone?
It is very simple! A geo-fence is a polygon of points. A defined defined defined area (in the screenshot below, it is the city of Perm). Whether the vehicle has left or returned to the geofence is determined by entering the Latitude & Longitude coordinates in the given area.
Many carsharing operators have established a rule that leaving the geo-fence zone must be coordinated with the call-center operator. Completing a rental outside the zone is forbidden or even restricted on a software level.
In order for the vehicle to be remotely controlled, in most car sharing solutions there is special telematics equipment connected via CAN bus.
The device externally resembles a common alarm system installed by car owners in their personal vehicles. A built-in CAN transceiver is used to communicate with the vehicle's network, thus making it possible to query the vehicle's fuel level, status of components, doors, bonnet, boot, engine and other information. The data is in turn transmitted via conventional 3G/4G networks. Each device contains an average of two SIM cards, which make the signal for the transmission of telematics data more stable. This equipment is normally installed behind the dashboard and is hidden from the user. This is essentially the 'brain' of the carshare car.