Mobility – organized intelligently

DEKRA has been a partner of MOIA, the mobility start-up from Volkswagen, since the summer of 2017. MOIA seeks to design mobility on-demand – with its characteristic shuttle buses. Customer call and pay these vehicles via app. They are cheaper than a taxi and more flexible than the bus. The idea behind it: An algorithm bundles similar bookings into ideal routes. The shuttles picks up customers on the way and drops them off as desired to increase the vehicle utilization and allow MOIA to lower inner-city traffic. At the same time, customers reach their destinations comfortably – without change over. This is how the ride-pooling principle works.

MOIA tested its concept for eight months in Hanover with great acceptance. Since the summer of 2018, the service is commercially available as a good complement to public transport. There from the beginning: DEKRA Arbeit. “We recruited and trained the drivers for the shuttles. We also took over the vehicle administration,” reports Managing Director Suzana Bernhard, who has been managing the DEKRA subsidiary for 15 years.

One driver, several guests, similar destination. Inexpensive and safe – that’s how ride-pooling works.

DEKRA’s range of services for MOIA also includes vehicles maintenance and care, writing expert reports, regulating damages, and driver-scheduling. Meanwhile, the MOIA fleet in Hanover has grown to 75 vehicles and 160 drivers. “It’s interesting to support a new initiative,” says Bernhard. But also an immense challenge: Because, as the strategic partnership between both companies took off, each development step was one into the unknown – the idea was completely new, and the cooperation consisted in “a constant update”, as Bernhard calls it today. “That can only happen when there is mutual loyalty and both parties stand on equal terms,” she says.

Challenging Roster

In hindsight, the problems we had appear banal, even if they seemed insurmountable challenges at the time. The creation of the roster is a good example, because, for Bernhard, it was an equation with many unknowns: How many employees do we need to start? What will be the shuttle utilization rate? How large will our demand be? Since there are no fixed travel times as with regular
buses, there are hardly any fixed stops. “We felt that the roster was changed around 100,000 times. On the starting day alone we changed it five times,” Bernhard describes the challenge at the time.

But driver selection came before rostering. Needless to say, they had to be reliable, friendly, and safe behind the wheel. Maybe students? No, they have exam period and lectures. How about pensioners? No, the shuttle is 100% digitally operated. Drivers tap everything on a smartphone display. “We underestimated both. Having an affinity to technology is a prerequisite for the job,” says Bernhard. “Just as is absolute reliability.” It quickly becomes clear that MOIA may only consider a fixed driver base. Drivers who just love the job.

No sooner said than done: All 160 drivers who are in action in Hannover today are specially trained and have proven their suitability with numerous certificates. DEKRA Arbeit ensures that MOIA customers reach their destination safely, comfortably and reliably.

Modern mobility: Shuttle buses with electric drive. Already routine in Hanover and soon in Hamburg too.

Driving with E-Mobility Profile

The pilot project in Hanover was a success and the foundation for further cooperation. In the spring of 2019, MOIA will also be offering its mobility-on-demand service in Hamburg. With a difference: In the Hanseatic city, shuttles are fully electrified. DEKRA Arbeit is a partner on board and responsible for driver training. “We did not think good employees could be the biggest challenge,” says Bernhard. “But the driver market in Hamburg is empty.” Hamburg is regarded as a think tank for new mobility. Many providers are here with their innovative solutions – and compete for good drivers.

Mobility of today and tomorrow: Let yourself be driven to your destination in good company.

And so that everything is not only relaxed and inexpensive, but also extremely safe, there is the DEKRA S@fetyIndex.

That’s why DEKRA Arbeit in Hamburg is pursuing a new strategy: It trains drivers itself. In a 13-day training course, would-be drivers learn how to handle electric shuttles. Further prerequisite include: Driver’s license, P-certificate for passenger transport, certificates of physical and mental fitness, eye test, functional and performance test, and police certificate of good conduct. If all formal and documentary requirements are met, would-be drivers are put through the DEKRA Academy. “That’s our big advantage,” explains Bernhard. “We have expertise in the automotive sector, personnel services and qualification. We network this knowledge for the benefit of customers.”

On DEKRA’s own test track in Hamburg, this has become something formal: “Suitability passenger transport and passenger ticket (for shuttle service drivers with electric vehicles)”. In 104 lessons, participants develop a basic understanding of battery-powered technology, talking about environmental issues, and maintaining and taking good care of the energy source. Social competences also play a central role. As a service provider, dealing professionally with customers is important. This includes using a polite language, but also adopting reasonable appearance. Naturally, MOIA candidates at the wheel must also: Driving style, braking behavior and anticipatory driving are put to the test. Finally, local knowledge is conveyed: Where is the nearest hospital and by which is the current district?

Anyone can drive a shuttle. However: Sitting at the wheel only seems enticing after extensive training and testing.

Increased Safety through Driving Behavior Analysis

Recently, DEKRA has extended the safety topic for MOIA with an innovative element: the “DEKRA S@fetyIndex”. Underlying this is an algorithm that measures driving behavior neutrally and objectively. To do so, the algorithm assesses three dimensions: Acceleration, braking behavior and compliance with speed limits. If the shuttle driver accelerates and brakes ahead of time, and keeps under the specified speed limit, the index awards him/her the highest score. Conversely, if the driver drives too fast and brakes excessively, for example, he/she receives a reduced score. “Ninety percent of accidents happen because of human error “, explains Valentin Löwenstein, responsible for DEKRA Digital for Business Development. “We want to take countermeasures by displaying driving behavior in anonymized manner at the fleet level or with the driver’s consent, taking data protection into account.” DEKRA Digital, just one year old, is a new and agile unit whose everyday life revolves around digital innovations around safety. The agile team has adapted its algorithm specifically to MOIA’s requirements. Löwenstein explains the parameters as follows: “Our idea is for a customer to get on with their laptop, work, ride comfortably and safely – without having to constantly hold on to their equipment and get shaken up – and get out easily. If you drive your shuttle like this, you will achieve a high level of customer satisfaction.”

“DEKRA S@fetyIndex”: smart and innovative algorithm for more safety and enjoyment.

In the pilot phase, DEKRA Digital will receive anonymized and randomized data from vehicles of the MOIA fleet in Hanover. Since February, the team has been feeding these acceleration, braking and speed values into their algorithm and creating the S@fetyIndex. In the future, abnormal driving behavior should be used to adapt driver training for MOIA drivers to specific scenarios, and to make good drivers even better. For example, anticipatory driving before traffic lights. “That’s the next step. Now it is time to complete the pilot phase successfully. Then, we would also like to use our system commercially and MOIA will be a reliable and innovative safety partner in the future,” says Löwenstein.

For customers who do not collect data via telematics systems, DEKRA Digital also develops a smartphone app with an integrated “DEKRA S@fetyIndex”. The main attraction: In modern smartphones, all sensors are used to measure acceleration and speed – that’s enough to calculate a score.

Currently, three parameters are integrated in the “DEKRA S@fetyIndex”. However, the digital team developed the algorithm further with the support of mobility Innovation Department of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering and Organization: “Among other things, we want to calculate weather data and other safety-relevant data. Our thinking: When raining, the speed should also be adjusted,” says Löwenstein. “Even equipment of individual vehicles could be interesting.”

All this serves a mission: To increase safety through the use of digital technologies in everyday life, on the road, at work and at home . “DEKRA S@fetyIndex” is the first product of this mission – with it, DEKRA Digital seeks to positively influence future driving behavior. “Our vision is to develop a standard to assess driving behavior in a neutral and objective manner,” says Löwenstein.

3 Questions for Suzana Bernhard

Suzana Bernhard

Executive Vice President DEKRA Group, Service Division Temp Work

A strong partner for new mobility – Suzana Bernhard on the reasons behind DEKRA’s success among the providers.

DEKRA seeks to continue its growth and network more closely. What exactly does that look like in everyday life?

MOIA’s innovative mobility concept is a good example of this. The reason why we are a strong partner to the Volkswagen subsidiary lies in the networking of our broad knowledge to the benefit of MOIA. Of course, this is about our core competence of automotive safety. To this end, we can add our expertise in qualification as well as in the personnel service, and finally our know-how in the digital topics of mobility.

How does MOIA benefit especially from DEKRA’s work? 

For example, thanks to the close cooperation with the DEKRA Academy, by our ability to develop further education and training. Due to our excellent networking, we are able to respond to challenges at any time and provide tailor-made solutions. 

In addition to MOIA, does DEKRA cooperate with other mobility service providers?

Exactly, after the merger of Car2Go and Drive Now, DEKRA Arbeit has assumed responsibility for fleet logistics. That’s 4,500 vehicles in Berlin, Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Cologne. There is great potential for car sharing internationally. In the area of ridepooling we support, amongst others, CleverShuttle and IOKI.

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