Of all the domains touched by on-demand business models and sharing economy, transport irrefutably presents the most successful use case globally. In India, we have witnessed a dramatic rise in shared mobility with homegrown platforms like self-drive rentals – ZoomCar, Drivezy as well as micro-mobility enablers like Yulu and Bounce trying to simplify everyday mobility.
Shared mobility business models present unique challenges in terms of security and convenience for end customers. Mobiikey – a Bengaluru based tech startup helps customers access the rented self-drive vehicles in a secure and convenient manner.
Mobiikey Technologies was founded in the year 2017 by Rajeev Sarda and Ravichandra Reddy. Their solution helps car/scooter rental companies to provide unmanned, 24×7, keyless access to rented vehicles directly on customer’s phone.
Ravichandra Reddy comes with over 24 years of global product development experience in Automotive Fortune 100 companies. Rajeev Sarda has been an entrepreneur and Angel Investor for 27+ years who started manufacturing computers way back in 1989 at Electronic City, Bangalore. The co-founders feel that their combination has worked well for Mobiikey. The idea for indigenous keyless access platform started during Ravi’s tenure at General Motors where significant technology transformation was taking place in Automotive industry related to cybersecurity, autonomous vehicles, EVs and vehicle sharing.
What sets Mobiikey apart?
Rajeev informs us that few other keyless access solutions in the market are IoT solutions that use GSM enabled network for central unlocking of the vehicles. Globally, automotive OEMs and major tier1 suppliers do not subscribe to the GSM method due to apparent vehicle security and battery drain issues.
Mobiikey solution is, instead, based on BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) proximity unlock, preceded by a secure authentication process. With Mobiikey solution, the vehicle access doesn’t depend on internet connectivity. Customers shall have access in their phone for the duration provided without any intervention from a central server. This also enables the businesses to utilise unused basement parkings for placing the vehicles.
Talking about security aspect of the solution, Rajeev says, “The highly secured access is provided to customers on their mobile using digitally signed access tokens. The 3 stage, rigorous access process includes a digital signature, 3 tier encryptions and 20+ checks before access is granted. Our proprietary last-mile access protocol ensures that every access is dynamic even for offline and repeat access“.
How it works
The vehicles are installed with Mobiikey’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU). Rental company’s mobile app and server are integrated with Mobiikey APIs and SDKs (software development kit) firmware.
The vehicle key is safely stored inside the vehicle. The authorised customer can go near the car and unlock it by using a button in the rental company’s mobile app. The car can only be started with authorized vehicle access from the rental mobile app in customer’s phone.
Mobiikey ECU also ensures that existing vehicle functionalities are not disturbed including vehicle RF keys and normal start when authenticated start feature is disabled.
In addition, Mobiikey has solved major problems for shared two-wheelers by retaining the key and handle lock, as well as by providing tags for helmets.
When the customer is in proximity of the two wheeler, its boot can be unlocked from the mobile app to pick the helmet and keys. The module provides a warning if a ride is being ended without keeping the key and the helmet back in the vehicle boot.
“This electrical-only solution reduces one-time costs, provides security and enhances resale value significantly“, adds Rajeev.
Areas of application
Mobiikey provides its services to a major car rental company in India and has also collaborated with a Chennai based e-bike OEM for dock-based e-bike sharing. As of now, 1,045 cars are using Mobiikey’s technology in Bangalore and they have another 355 installations in progress at Pune and Mumbai. The company has completed Proof of Concept for two-wheelers and pilot 2Ws are currently under implementation. Mobiikey expects to complete installation for 2,000 more cars and 6,000 two-wheelers in 2020.
In the e-mobility space, they are working with a few organisations for offline charging station sharing. This will help enable charging services at stations where the drivers and vehicles could be automatically verified to begin charging.
Speaking to EVreporter, Rajeev informs that their technology and controllers are designed for global use. Any vehicle can be fitted with the Mobiikey system and brought on-board in less than 30 minutes. The company has applied for patents for its IP and is expected to begin servicing global clients soon.