carValoo – the StartUp that is shaking up the industry
As part of thyssenkrupp Automotive Technology, the carValoo team knows more about digitalization in the automotive sector than almost anyone else. So it's no wonder that the startup carValoo, with its highly precise, automatic damage detection, has become a big name in the fleet industry in a very short time.
carValoo offers a cloud-based IoT solution that uses highly sensitive acceleration sensors to detect and communicate operationally relevant events such as damage, misuse and high wear and tear in real time. The condition of the vehicle can thus be viewed by the fleet manager at any time. This ensures increased safety and economic efficiency for vehicle fleets such as car sharing services, rental car companies, logistics service providers, etc.
carValoo - a child of the hour
carValoo's IoT solution comes at a time when the trend is moving away from owning a car and towards new, sustainable forms of mobility. In both urban and rural areas, people are becoming more environmentally conscious than ever before. Most journeys can be made on foot, by bike or by public transport. When it does have to be a car, more and more people are turning to new offerings such as car sharing, subscription models and flexible vehicle rentals. The Corona pandemic has also significantly increased the importance of delivery services with their own vehicle fleets. But many fleet operators face the same challenges: What is the actual condition of my vehicles and, if damage is found, who caused it? The precise inspection of each vehicle after each trip or rental is financially very costly and logistically almost impossible to implement in the case of car sharing, for example. In addition, many damages or wear and tear are not visible at first glance, for example, if they are located under the vehicle or on components such as shock absorbers. Due to frequent driver changes and infrequent damage checks, most damage is not reported by the driver.
With a product solution that makes the condition of their vehicles more transparent and economical, providers of new forms of mobility can continue to grow, develop a better and denser infrastructure, and increase their availability to users - even outside urban hotspots. This is exactly the kind of solution that carValoo has developed.
From the black box to more transparency
Until now, objectively speaking, a vehicle was mostly a black box - both for users of the service and for the fleet operators themselves. How was the car handled beforehand? How will the next driver treat the vehicle? What damage is there? Should the vehicle go in for unscheduled maintenance? Is the car still safe? This lack of transparency not only leads to poor planning of inspections and maintenance, but also to high costs due to damage detected too late and inefficient maintenance cycles, which the fleet operator usually has to bear himself. In the worst case, the safety of drivers and passengers is endangered by undetected defects.
The carValoo team tackled precisely this problem. How can fleet vehicles be made more transparent, safer and more efficient? However, carValoo started with a completely different question:
How it all began
"At CarValoo, together with my colleague Nico Schön, I pursued the idea virtually from the first minute: "What data is generated on a vehicle and its components that allows a statement about actual wear and tear?" We started from this very general idea. We tried a lot of things and were also on a completely different track at the beginning. We developed sensors that were attached directly to the component, so they would pick up motion, friction and vibration at each component. We quickly found out that this would be too complicated and too expensive. We quickly came up with the breakthrough idea that all you need for our project in a vehicle is a single sensor - an accelerometer. From there, we developed the entire product - the hardware and the cloud solution, as well as the artificial intelligence, which is the real core of our product," says Dr. Sophie Wei.
What started as an idea is now, three years later, an independent company: carValoo GmbH. "This is particularly exciting because a cloud-based IoT solution like carValoo is not one of thyssenkrupp's core technologies. Everyone else on the market developing similar solutions for fleet operators are companies with completely different backgrounds. That's why carValoo is something very special in the thyssenkrupp cosmos," emphasizes Dr. Wei.
carValoo - the "X-ray glasses" for cars
With the carValoo spin-off, however, thyssenkrupp is not only demonstrating innovative strength and pioneering spirit, but also offering customers very practical benefits and solutions for everyday requirements and problems:
A pioneer StartUp with great potential
The advantages of carValoo have the potential to leave a lasting mark on the entire fleet world: Increased transparency improves the economic performance of vehicles and in this way paves the way for alternative mobility concepts. In the long term, fleet operators can use carValoo to increase their availability and reliability and make the switch from their own cars to sustainable services attractive to more and more people. carValoo: a pioneering product with great potential - as Dr. Sophie Wei also emphasizes: "With carValoo we are opening up a completely new market area and new customers for thyssenkrupp."