Blog post

Data Personalization in Car Sharing: Who Wins?

Explore how auto brands are building a new data-driven culture of urban mobility and personalized travel experiences

January 14, 2020

7 mins read

Just a few taps on your phone and you’re good to go! You get in a shared car, your favorite music is on, your seat couldn’t be more comfortable, and there’s a refreshing breeze inside — exactly as you like it! While you’re driving, the in-car system suggests making a quick pit stop for coffee, reminds you of today’s schedule, and rebuilds the route to go around heavy traffic so you don’t miss your meeting. When you’re nearing your destination, the carsharing app finds a free parking space and suggests a quick shortcut to your final destination. This is what data personalization looks like in action.

Now, what is it that fuels this urban mobility personalization? Why on earth would anyone want to share their personal data with mobility services? And how can both users and businesses benefit?

How urban is our world?

The past 50 years have seen a drastic increase in levels of urbanization globally. The latest figures by the UN show that more than 4 billion people — over half (55%) of the world’s population — now live in urban areas. Mass migrations to cities have impacted the urban landscape, giving rise to densely populated metropolises around the world.

Share of people living in urban areas, 2017
Data Personalization in Car Sharing: Who Wins?
Source: UN World Urbanization Prospects

This centralization effect becomes even more pronounced when we look at predictions of global urbanization trends for the next 30 years. The world’s urban population is expected to continue growing, and by 2050, nearly 7 billion people are projected to live in urban settings.

But along with rapidly expanding megacities comes rapidly emerging challenges, personal mobility among them.

Data Personalization in Car Sharing: Who Wins?
Read more: Learn how we’ve designed an innovative human-machine interface (HMI) application to bring the connected carsharing customer experience to a new level

The paradigm shift in urban mobility

Continued population growth causes dense traffic in urban areas that adversely affects citizens’ quality of life. Millions of commuters are trapped in severe road congestion every day. We inhale fumes from idling cars and waste our priceless time in traffic.

But with the arrival of carsharing solutions based on IoT and big data, changes are coming fast. The emerging trend for shareable, connected, electric, and autonomous vehicles promises to improve city traffic and bring us a few steps closer to smarter and greener mobility. Significantly, data personalization in carsharing will hold the key to boosting traveler satisfaction and automotive brand loyalty. Here’s how.

Why should auto brands care about data personalization?

A new carsharing culture and a changing view of vehicle ownership should be a red flag for automotive companies. In the autonomous, mobility-as-a-service world where customers are reconsidering owning a car, even the premium vehicle brands that were once a company’s identity may stop being a differentiator. What really matters to users — and what can help automakers win consumer loyalty — is safety and the digital experience inside the car.

While safety speaks for itself and has long been an industry mainstay, the in-vehicle experience is a whole new value creator. On-demand mobility startups have stormed into the automotive market, introducing fresh, competitive ways to personalize and digitize the journey. This has left even the most established automotive giants scrambling to digitally reinvent themselves.

Finding new touchpoints with users through innovative technologies empowers brands to provide personalized travel experiences and integrate their vehicles with other aspects of customers’ lives. A car’s ability to interact with its occupants, communicate with other systems, and use personal data to deliver exceptional tailored services is what will distinguish brands, create new revenue streams, and boost customer loyalty in the future.

Data Personalization in Car Sharing: Who Wins?
Source: Automotive 2030 Executive Survey

Data personalization in automotive: A goldmine for brands and greater convenience for travelers

Connected vehicles are increasingly collecting and generating a wealth of data: user preferences, contacts, points of interest, and the like. There are many potential uses of all this information, from personalizing user experiences to effectively managing urban mobility as well as to enable vehicle data monetization.

Analysis of car data allows companies to identify unmet customer needs and explore new business opportunities. Sharing vehicle data with service providers and business partners — car services, road operators, insurance companies, and others — can improve the driving experience, diversify product and service offerings, and increase road safety.

Traveling door to door hassle-free using carsharing services is great, but this is just a drop in the bucket of opportunities for users. The more consumers get to experience the benefits of data personalization in carsharing, the more willingly they will exchange their personal and mobility information for all the benefits that come with these services.

Why share car data?
Data Personalization in Car Sharing: Who Wins?
Source: Car Data Facts

Smarter car booking
As a traveler, what you really want is a personalized and seamless car rental experience, especially if you’re in a new city or a foreign country. A carsharing app on your smartphone can take into account all booking details and user preferences and find the right car parked close to your pick-up point.

Digital in the driver’s seat
As connected cars become more automated and autonomous, consumers expect extraordinary in-vehicle digital experiences during the ride. How cool would it be if a car could recognize you, learn from you, customize the in-car experience, predict your preferences, and have a natural conversation! All these cognitive abilities turn the car into the most sophisticated device customers have ever put their hands on.

Information at your fingertips
Vehicle connectivity coupled with data processing and geolocation services allows for quick access to vital information. Through instant traffic updates and exchanging data with other cars, a vehicle can inform you about road conditions and hazards, calculate the most optimal routes, and provide information on weather, location, and the availability of cars.

Time well spent
Commutes are a waste of time — that is, unless you use carsharing services that can turn your driving time into an enjoyable experience. Future in-car systems can know your preferences for music, video, social channels, and other media and adjust all infotainment functions to your liking. With hands-off driving on the horizon, passengers will be able to focus on browsing personalized content, shopping online, or checking emails.

Personal planner, concierge, and guide in one
By syncing with a user’s calendar, a vehicle can add new waypoints to the route, arrange a car for the next ride, and put new events on the calendar. A car’s guidance capabilities can assist in booking a hotel room, ordering lunch at a favorite restaurant, and choosing a movie.

Parking made easy
Smart parking integrated into a car’s navigation system helps drivers find available parking spots. A smart navigation system can lead you to a parking space and build the shortest walking route to your destination. Instant automatic parking payments based on a user’s preferred payment options save time and effort.

Data Personalization in Car Sharing: Who Wins?
Read more: Learn how we’ve implemented a trusted map over-the-air update that opened new business opportunities in the connected cars market

Data security and privacy: Is data sharing safe?

Carsharing is not without its critics. Information privacy and security are the most frequently cited issues in terms of data personalization. Fair enough, considering all the data breaches the industry has experienced so far. So can consumers be sure that their carsharing data will be kept secure?

To win customers’ trust and confidence, automotive companies need to take data protection seriously. Reliable handling of personal information is what will differentiate brands. Protective strategies and measures include:

  • GDPR compliance

Carmakers are committed to using consumer data in accordance with EU security legislation and sharing it with business partners only as agreed in the contract with the customer, with the customer’s consent, or in compliance with legal obligations.

  • Privacy by design

OEMs are now taking a holistic approach, implementing privacy throughout the entire engineering process rather than adding it at the end. From day one, strong security measures such as data encryption and authentication are building into the vehicle systems.

  • Off-board access

Instead of allowing direct access to the vehicle, car manufacturers make vehicle data available to service providers through an off-board facility, a remote and secure server that acts as a gatekeeper. Off-board access provides a secure interface for third parties while operating in accordance with data protection rules and minimizing security risks.

Bringing your expertise up to digital speed

As innovation in autonomous and connectivity technologies marches on, automakers continue to reinvent themselves as high-tech digital enterprises. This inevitably brings up the need to reinforce engineering expertise with new skills that companies don’t necessarily have at their disposal. One of the most viable ways to fill that skill gap and future-proof your business from further challenges is to partner with mature software providers.

With our strong expertise in advanced urban mobility and carsharing solutions, Intellias is well positioned to meet the digital needs of global automotive players, carsharing companies, and mobility service providers. We deliver a rich portfolio of smart mobility software, from smart parking to a multi-modal travel planning engine and connectivity infrastructure that will enable autonomous driving in the future.


Get in touch with our experts to discover how Intellias can help your company become a trailblazer in the changing world of hyper-connected automotive technologies.

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