Earn As You Ride - An XBR Use Case at the IAA 2019

, Alexander Goedde

Continental showed of a use case for Crossbar.io's XBR technology at its booth during the IAA/Frankfurt Motor Show 2019

XBR - Open Data Markets Infrastructure

With the XBR technology stack, Crossbar.io is developing the basis for any kind of data market. For data trading to succeed widely, markets need to be there to support specific use cases, sets of buyers and sellers, conform to local legal requirements - and many other aspects that will come up only in widespread usage.

We think this toolbox approach, enabling a system of systems rather than having a narrow focus on a particular industry or vertical, is the correct one. Still, concrete use cases are what needs to drive these specific data markets.

Earn As You Ride - With Continental

Continental, one of the world's largest automotive suppliers, used the IAA 2019 (Frankfurt Motor Show) to present a use case for the XBR technolgy. The use case was developed with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, who are partnering with Continental to create automotive data markets. The use case showed an individual driver earning money from the data their car produced.

photo of the ear as you ride start screen
The start screen

One of the core problems in today's cities is the availability of parking spaces - and the discovery of free spaces when needed. While I doubt the often cited figure of up to 30% of city traffic being in search of parking spaces, I certainly have circled the blocks next to my inner city apartment for a while in order to discover that one elusive free spot of on-street parking, and seen others do so as well.

Live Data on Free Parking Spaces

Data can be the key to alleviating this problem. The data required is hyper-local and needs to be very fresh. A parking space which is free one minute may not be the next, and data even 15 minutes old can be next to worthless. A lot of sensors are needed to collect the required data.

Continental shows in its demo use case how the new crop of cars with cameras for their assistance systems can be used as mobile sensors. As a side effect of their assitance systems, these cars have everything in place to detect free parking spaces - and the connectivity required to send this information live into the cloud.

photo of parking space detection event
A coin for a free parking space

The demonstrator at the IAA showed the full flow for this:

  • A driver registers as a data provider with the parking service - fully compliant with current European data privacy requirements (GDPR), informing the driver of the precise usages for the data and allowing an opt-out at any time.
  • The driver gets assigned an account for the tokens which can be earned through participation.
  • While driving, a filter for the detection of free parking spaces runs in addition to the existing driver assistance software.
  • Based on the results of the filter, both currently free parking spaces, and parking spaces which had previously been detected as free and are now taken are reported to the service.
  • Tokens are received for such detection events.

The utility of such a service for the customers, i.e. the driver trying to find a parking space, directly relates to the coverage of the service. The more cars contribute their data, the tighter the detection network and the better the reliability.

Cooperation is Key

In practice, different car manufacturers have widely different coverage with the fleet of cars their customers drive. A German manufacturer may well have better coverage in a German city than a Japanese one (and vice versa), a mass-market manufacturer will naturally have wider coverage than one of luxury cars. Exchanging data between manufacturers makes sense for everybody in most situations. As part of the demonstrator, the difference in coverage between just a single car manufacturer versus in combination with additional car fleets was shown.

The demo gathered interest both from the general public, which is looking for new features to improve the driving experience, and from car manufactures, who arel looking to add services to their portfolios.

We think this is a good use case, and a great indicator that there is value in the data out there once you start looking for applications.

photo of Tobias and Alex in front of the demo setup
Taking a break from the hackathon to visit the demo

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