Creating the most immersive API platform for connected cars

This week I had the opportunity to take to the stage at the MOVE conference in South East London to talk briefly about our journey at HIGH MOBILITY; from our earliest ideas to how we became the successful API company for connected cars that we are today.

I divided my talk into two parts. First of all I discussed how the changing business, technology and sustainability environment impacts on the way the automotive industry designs and builds cars, and second of all, how we need to prepare connected cars for this future.

The audience agreed that what’s really missing from the usual technology talks is some attention on the developers themselves. We all need to remember that it is developers who will be the ones actually creating the ecosystem that will make our cars more productive, more exciting and more smart.

What really keeps us excited about the industry is the fact that no one actually knows in which direction cars or the industry itself will evolve. Some say shared, some say autonomous, some say electric and many imagine all three coming together. And maybe that’s why the car industry is opening up more and more to developers ; providing them with interfaces with which we can shape the future of the car together.

There are many things happening in the world that will affect our relationship with cars: population growth, the way we live, job automation and an increasing focus on sustainability. The United Nations predicts that 68% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050, which would equate to more than 6.5 billion people.

There are hundreds of teams around the world thinking up new ways for people to move or deliver goods or who are in other ways seeking to address the increasing demands of markets in cities around the world. Recently, Jan Brecht from Daimler stated:

“There are two distinct business models in automotive and mobility. One of them is getting people or goods from A to B as efficiently as possible. The other one is about offering an emotional product that people want to own. The luxury hardware, however, will only be desirable if integrated into a software and services ecosystem.”

Therefore, recognising the car as the next important developer platform is crucial to successful car manufacturers of the future.

Leading carmakers have realised there is potential in engaging with the developer ecosystem and not building everything in-house. The main challenge to this has been figuring out how to actually do it in practice. For that exact reason HIGH MOBILITY has spent several years acting as a developer advocate in the car industry, engaging both sides of the discussion while building a platform that would automate many such discussions in the future. We don’t consider it a success if a carmaker can work with 10 start-ups, we get excited if we manage to build an ecosystem which enables tens of thousands of developers around the globe.

After years of work we are finally ready with a strong MVP — it is now possible for a developer to register an account at www.high-mobility.com, build an app project specifying the data points required from our Auto API and run this through a simulation with car models from Mercedes-Benz to Porsche. Once satisfied with the UX the app can be published and is ready for real customers using Mercedes-Benz, BMW or MINI connected vehicles.

While the data catalog for real car data is relatively small right now, there is a roadmap in place to extend this and enable many more use cases.

We keep our focus on pushing the industry forward and showcasing new possibilities to the carmakers we work with. This focus on finding the best solution for both sides is our magic sauce.

We are currently excited to be launching another opportunity to build amazing new connected car services. For the second year running we are collaborating with Porsche to support their Porsche NEXT OI Competition. Unburdened by the limitations of real vehicles, developers have the chance to use the full spectrum of our 300+ Auto API data points and bring out their creativity during a 12-week long digital hackathon!

If you’re interested in taking part, make sure you head over to the Porsche competition site now. Together, we’re defining the future of driving.