Connected Cars: How IoT, Streaming Data & Real-Time Analytics are Disrupting the Rental Car Industry [Part 1]

Last Published: Aug 05, 2021 |
Amit Kara
Amit Kara

This three-part series on connected cars has been co-authored by Amit Kara, Vishwa Belur, and Soumya Banerjee.

You’re enjoying your family vacation, driving through California's most scenic routes, when suddenly, your rental car comes to a complete halt. Your children and, most importantly, your spouse are not happy campers. You think to yourself, with all the advancements in automobiles, couldn’t the rental company have predicted this breakdown and alerted you earlier? If you’re driving a connected car, the company might be able to notify you of problems with your vehicle — and save your vacation.

What is a connected car? A connected car is a car that has Internet access and provides the ability to have devices both inside the car and outside connect to it. Connected cars started as a way for car owners (renters) to call for emergency roadside assistance - a familiar feature for rental fleet managers.

What do connected cars mean for a rental car company? As the auto industry implements telematics (telecommunications and monitoring systems, including GPS diagnostics, and so on), there’s the potential to use telematics data for vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, and vehicle-to-everything in the future. For example, potential consumers of telematics data include:

  • Automobile manufacturers - for capturing real-time diagnostics information
  • Road transportation authorities - for efficient traffic management
  • Traffic enforcement agencies - for accurate traffic violation reports
  • Insurance companies - for managing premiums

In this blog series, we will focus on how a car rental companies can benefit from fully automating the car rental experience by immediately communicating fuel levels, mileage, damage detection, and necessary maintenance using Informatica’s Big Data Streaming solution that provides AI-driven, end-to-end management for IoT and streaming data.

At the core, is telematics data. Telematics data establishes two-way communications between vehicles and operations management, essentially turning the car into a data gateway.

Data collected from onboard telematic devices can be categorized as behavioral and diagnostic.

  • Behavioral Data is generated by, or in response to, the driver’s use of the vehicle. For example, telematics data is relayed about speed, steering, braking, and fuel-efficient driving. It can even be used to issue alerts due when data suggests driver fatigue.
  • Diagnostic Data results from the ability to access a vehicle’s data, enabling car rental agencies to assess the health of a vehicle and notify drivers when a service is required with in-car voice communication.

Connected Cars and IoT

To implement the connected car use case (or any IoT data management use case), architects typically leverage the Sense-Reason-Act framework. In this framework, organizations can ingest data from IoT sources (sense), apply business logic on the IoT data (reason), and operationalize actions on the IoT device (act).

To elaborate, any real-time analytics solution must have two components. First, stream processors continuously collect and parse data from event sources such as cloud, IoT devices, or social applications as the event occurs, and then deliver data to a streaming transport system. Secondly, streaming analytics solutions consume data from streaming transport systems over a limited-time window that allows for data manipulation, enrichment, and refinement and analysis. Ultimately, data is delivered for a variety of uses such as alerting, real-time visualization, or persisting event data for historical analysis.

Now that we’ve described the use case for using telematics data to improve the rental-car customer experience, we’ll look at how a rental agency could implement this. In the next blog, we’ll provide a reference architecture and explain how Informatica’s streaming solution can support connected cars and similar use cases.

Learn more about IoT Data Management by visiting our reference article page and watch a quick introduction to Informatica Big Data Streaming, which provides real-time stream processing of unbounded big data.

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First Published: Aug 20, 2019