Shared mobility is one of the major trends of future mobility, particularly in urban regions. Large fleet operators, such as rental car and car sharing companies, also see enormous growth potential in this area. With around 255,000 rental and car sharing vehicles in Germany, “Car to Cloud to Company” will be a critical technology when it comes to efficient and inexpensive fleet deployment. This is why GlobalmatiX AG, a subsidiary of Softing AG, Munich/Haar, has developed an innovative telematics solution, which, with the help of artificial intelligence, offers the greatest amount of available data and transfer security on the market.
Alongside standards such as location information and journey approval via app, the outstanding range of services includes continuous technical diagnosis of the entire vehicle, early detection of impending defects, as well as the detection of minor damage and – with the help of artificial intelligence – the reporting thereof in a damage report including a calculation of the cost of the damage. Thanks to individual data acquisition and reporting tailored to the needs of every particular fleet operator.
Detecting Minor Damage
Up to 90% of all minor accidents are not discovered when rental cars are returned as the car bumper has sprung back into its original state and position. This is problematic as this area can be subject to quite considerable damage. The xTCU interface detects this damage and, using the software developed by GlobalmatiX partner Spearhead AG, Zurich, provides an individual damage report based on the vehicle model incl. an estimate of the costs of the damage within seconds. Millions of pieces of historic and recent accident and assessor data from the Stuttgart-based expert organization DEKRA SE provide the basis for this.
Cees van Dijk, CEO of Spearhead AG, Zurich: “GlobalmatiX, with its highly sensitive telematics box, is the first company to be able to deliver the extensive volume of data we need for digital accident analysis to our cloud system in real time.”
The xTCU Gateway is a 4G/LTE/5G CAN data logger and GPS telematics interface specially developed for Car to Cloud to Company use cases. It is smaller than a smartphone and can be installed in any vehicle in just a few minutes, thus enabling the acquisition of OBD data or diagnostic data from the ECUs. The telematics box certified according to CE, eMark and RED in the EU enables access to a wide range of vehicle data in rich quality – regardless of the vehicle brand.
With it, GlobalmatiX offers a previously unreached level of security against unauthorized access by third parties with its innovative encryption technology and proprietary 4G/LTE/5G wireless network. In other words, GlobalmatiX xTCU can acquire and analyze virtually all data measured by the vehicle’s ECUs, supplemented by state-of-the-art GPS tracking, and transmit the information to the vehicle operator “over the air” almost in real time. With the help of artificial intelligence in the Big Data Cloud, a qualified analysis of vehicle data, events and changes to the ideal state is now possible for the first time and can be sent to the vehicle management system – in as detailed a form as the fleet operator desires.
The benefits for rental car and car sharing companies are:
– digital recording, classification and processing of the damage,
– digitalization of the damage report (previously several days were required, now in real time),
– correct assignment of the damage to the party responsible and transparent, fair settlement of recovery costs,
– millions of euros saved (depending on the size of the fleet) with clear, unambiguous identification of the party responsible,
– savings from assessor costs that are not necessary.
The GlobalmatiX telematics solution thus offers a reliable basis for the stationless and contactless use of rental and car sharing vehicles. The detailed recording of the current condition of a particular vehicle before it is next rented out saves the otherwise necessary inspection at a station, and thus additional personnel costs, without jeopardizing the level of quality that customers expect today. At the same time, this helps reduce the idle time of rental cars.
The companies see great potential for cost savings in the future, particularly in contactless lessor-lessee management, while at the same time improving customer service. The xTCU telematics interface is the key to achieving these goals.
Successful Premiere with Enterprise/Switzerland: Millions to be Saved
Enterprise in Switzerland was the first rental car company to carry out an extensive test run with GlobalmatiX; in June 2021, they concluded a long-term contract on the use of the telematics interface. After an evaluation of the results, the outcome is convincing in several areas: “Our major digital challenge is detecting and settling minor damage,” says Marco Venturini, CEO of Enterprise Switzerland. “Previous solutions based on expert opinions were simply too late, too time-consuming and too expensive. The GlobalmatiX telematics solution, in conjunction with the MSS Holding AG software customized to suit rental car management, is a great help in settling these cases of minor damage and at the same time implementing vehicle diagnostics for all our brands.”
If you take a look at the statistics, you will see that a rental car has four incidences of minor damage a year on average, with repairs totaling around EUR 6,000. In comparison, the costs for the xTCU Gateway, the installation and the annual telematics costs constitute only around one tenth of the repair costs not chargeable by the company. In the case of the fleet sizes of rental and car sharing companies, this represents millions in saved costs every year.
To make these services possible, GlobalmatiX has not only engaged in a partnership with Spearhead AG, Zurich, for the diagnosis and assessment of minor damage. A further partner is MSS Holding AG, Zurich, a comprehensive mobility provider, as well as the licensees Enterprise, National and Alamo in Switzerland. This is where an extensive “Digital Connected Car” concept was developed as a management platform for vehicle fleets.
There are currently four telematics applications in use which are of great significance for lessors and operators of passenger car and van fleets: remote vehicle diagnostics and predictive maintenance, accident detection and automatic claims handling, complete résumé file (CarCV) for vehicles and keyless door opening for rental vehicles.
Andreas Buhl, President of MSS Holding AG: “The multi-brand capability, the modular and tailor-made applications for all vehicles over the xTCU interface, the high data resolution as well as the extent of applications over only one box were decisive in our awarding the contract to GlobalmatiX. By using the GlobalmatiX telematics solution, we have established the basis for digitizing our Connected Car concept. This will enable us to simplify complex return processes in a customer-friendly way and make them more cost-effective. Creating a résumé increases the resale value of our vehicles and facilitates marketing before the vehicle is returned. Furthermore, keyless access to the vehicle allows us to put rental on the road.”
Alois Widmann, CEO GlobalmatiX: “We have developed a smart telematics box to be used for several brands in large fleets. It is not only easy and quick to install, but also records diagnostic signals at extremely high sampling rates and combines them with telematics data. From everywhere in the world, the data acquired is transferred to and analyzed in the Big Data Cloud of our partner Spearhead in real time via mobile radio. The fleet manager can act immediately on the basis of these results. This innovative telematics solution with just one box makes sure that the ongoing total costs for large fleets are significantly reduced.”