MINI Sharing

Peer-to-peer sharing allows car owners to share their vehicle with family and friends. MINI envisioned P2P sharing as a native feature: guest drivers use the sharing app to make a reservation, and once the owner consents, the smartphone becomes the car key.

Briefing
With the success in building DriveNow’s embedded car sharing module, ESR Labs was approached by MINI to design and build the P2P full embedded software stack and the Android SDK.

Challenges

Security
Unauthorized access and hacking

  • Sharing a personal vehicle requires trust—in both the users and the technology. Our software stack runs on dedicated security hardware. The controller processes all commands between smartphone, vehicle, and back end. Encryption and secure signatures prevent unauthorized access to functions such as lock/unlock of the vehicle and engine ignition on/off. After the car is parked, it analyzes the state of the vehicle, informing the user if a window is still open or a door is not locked in properly.

Connectivity
Vehicles parked in locations without a cellular network connection

  • We built a solution based on “Bluetooth Low Energy” wireless technology. Unlike standard Bluetooth, BLE can connect smartphone and vehicle without the user actively establishing a connection. Since BLE only transfers small bits of data, our custom transport protocol cuts down the bigger sets into small packages, securely transfers and puts them back together. This allows the user to interact with the vehicle even when there is no cellular connection available, resulting in a more convenient user experience.

Compatibility
Broad user base with different operating systems and devices

  • We developed a custom software library which makes P2P sharing app compatible with most Android smartphones.

Approach

Cross-functional project Management.
Profound technical experience allows us to identify quickly what needs to be done both on a project and a technical level.

We work hardware agnostic.
This means that the realization of our client's vision is not blocked by hardware compatibility issues.

We built and test in simulated environments.
The result is a better product, refined through multiple iterations of both hardware and software.

Check out MINI sharing by downloading the app

Facts

Full Embedded Software Stack

  • Firmware and application software on Power PC
  • Kernel customization and application on Linux-based SoC
  • BLE communication protocol
  • Security stack on controller and smartphone
  • Android software development kit
  • Simulated environments for both development and testing

Timeline

  • Proof of concept in 4 months
  • Market readiness in 9 months
  • Market launch September 2018

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