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Bringing smart mobility into the sharing economy

The EU-funded SMASH project has developed an integrated mobility service where everyone can easily share their cars, bikes, parking spots, trucks and charging stations with others.

Digital Economy

When we talk about vehicle sharing, we typically think ride sharing programmes or urban bike renting initiatives. These systems have traditionally been independent and centralised. As a result, city centres across Europe have been invaded by free floating bikes and electric scooters offering little to no benefit in terms of open and sustainable urban mobility. What if there was a system that ‘smashed’ everything together – from motorcycles to bicycles, cars to buses – into an integrated, managed and open source smart mobility system? This is exactly what the EU-funded SMASH project set out to do. SMASH is an integrated mobility service, a platform where everyone can share their own vehicles with others. “Whether you have a bike or a car that you’re not using, you can use SMASH to rent it out to other users,” says project coordinator Alessandro Cantore. “However, unlike these other programmes, SMASH is all encompassing, meaning a user can rent a bike to get to a car that they can then use to drive to the nearest train station – they can even use the SMASH app to find a parking spot or a recharging station!” Supply and demand As SMASH aims to meet both the supply and the demand side of the shared mobility equation, the system is comprised of several innovative technologies. On the supply side, there is the SMASH device. Developed by lead partner Greenspider, the device integrates a GNSS receiver, Near Field Communication (NFC), Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and GPRS module for connecting to the cloud all into a single, ultra-low-power electronic circuit. Once the device is installed, the owner can then share their component via the SMASH app. “With just a few clicks, anyone, including fleet operators and private individuals, can register and become a service provider, sharing their own mobility services on our open source smartphone app,” explains Cantore. “Along with listing the component’s exact location, you can also include pictures, relevant data and the terms and conditions for accessing and using the shared object.” By accessing the SMASH app via a unique social login, users can immediately see all the available mobility options on a user-generated map. One can also narrow a search by vehicle type, location and availability. Users book using the virtual SMASH wallet, which can be recharged via the SMASH Token mobile payment system. The wallet can also be used to pay any deposits or down payments required by the owner. Rates are typically defined by time of use but can fluctuate depending on demand. To ensure that all transactions are safe and secure, the SMASH system utilises blockchain technology. Sustainable, smart mobility SMASH is currently in its pilot phase, with thousands of vehicles and other mobility related components being shared in cities across Europe. Fleet operators and vehicle manufacturers are also adopting SMASH as a native technology in the production phase of their smart vehicles. “Although SMASH supports all the features of traditional vehicle sharing, it does so as an open, peer-to-peer model where everyone can be both a user and a provider of shared mobility solutions,” adds Cantore. “By joining the SMASH sharable universe, we can all play a role in building the sustainable, smart and convenient urban mobility systems of tomorrow.”

Keywords

SMASH, ride sharing, smart mobility, Greenspider, GNSS

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