New from PoolCar – RFID car lock/unlock

TMBy now you are probably familiar with how car sharing companies work. The cars are parked in the street and members can walk up to the car, tap their membership card on the dash-mounted reader, and hey presto, the car doors unlock.

Now you can run your corporate vehicle fleet in the same way.

After a whirlwind three months of development, including field trials in Chicago, we are excited to announce our very own telematics platform, designed and built by the PoolCar team here in Australia.

The as yet unnamed black-box is wired into the car and combines the following functions:

  • Open-source Linux computer
  • RFID card reader
  • 3G/4G modem
  • OBD-II interface for real-time engine diagnostics
  • GPS location tracking
  • Door lock and unlock
  • Door open sensor
  • Ignition on/off sensor
  • Engine immobilization
  • Flashers/Indicators/Horn for drawing attention
  • Panic/SOS button
  • Optional, accelerometer/motion/gyroscope for monitoring driver behavior sensor
  • Optional, sensors for smoking in cars

And it works natively with the PoolCar software, so now you can have one system to manage your bookings, drivers, fleet vehicles, telematics, billing, key cabinets and now keyless vehicle entry.

This opens up enormous possibilities for your fleet:

  • Rent your corporate fleet out on weekends to the local community
  • For University customers, open up reservations to students
  • Change where the cars are parked, scattered for extra convenience, close to where staff are located
  • One telematics platform that will never become obsolete, as the platform is built on top of an open-source computer and is remotely updateable. Custom code anyone?

Of course if you still need the reassurance of cold, hard keys then you can use our electronic key cabinets for some cars and keyless entry for the general pool cars.

All-inclusive pricing is also available, which includes SIM cards, installation and hardware costs all rolled up into one simple monthly fee.

To register your interest in a trial, please contact sales.

Fleet Procurement Conference, Brisbane

A big thank you to LocalBuy who invited me (Kurt here) to be a speaker at their recent conference in Brisbane. One hour before I was due to speak my brand new Asus Flipbook decided to not boot. Talk about a heart starter! Removing the back cover and unplugging the battery did the trick. The talk on Sustainable Vehicle Pools went very well.

Vehicle Pools in New Zealand

Good news for New Zealand pool vehicle fleets. Version 4.12 of PoolCar fleet management software now includes three new features for New Zealand customers. They are Warrant of Fitness (WoF), Road User Charges (RUC) and Per-State Charge-Out rates.

WoF is similar to Australia’s Roadworthy Certificate (RWC) in that the vehicle needs to be certified by an approved tester. The NZ WoF cycle is based on the age of the car, or more specifically, the date of first registration. The idea behind WoF is that maintenance of a car (or lack thereof) can contribute towards accidents. With modern vehicles, however, this is becoming less of an issue based on cause-of-accident statistics, hence the WoF cycle between certifications has been relaxed to longer periods for newer vehicles. Older vehicles, first registered before the year 2000, require more frequent testing.

The new RUC features relate to tracking RUC permits and renewals. In New Zealand, petrol vehicles contribute towards road maintenance costs through an excise tax on petrol. There is no tax on diesel, hence drivers of diesel vehicles (and heavy fleet) pay the RUC instead.

Finally, for fleet operators who have a vehicle fleet in New Zealand as well as other countries, version 4.12 now makes it possible to implement different charging rules for vehicles based in different countries or states. For example, you might charge or ‘cost recover’ $0.50 per KM traveled in Australia, but $0.55 per KM traveled in New Zealand.

Single sign-on in the cloud

Breaking news – PoolCar now has the ability provide single-sign on (SSO) in the cloud.

What this means is that the PoolCar sign-in form (a.k.a. the login page) can authenticate users against your organization’s Active Directory server. Staff use their normal network/PC username to access the PoolCar application.

Even better, provisioning of new accounts will be automatic, meaning when you provision a new account on your network – say for a new employee – they will be able to access the PoolCar system without you having to create a separate account within PoolCar (Manage Users). Similarly, employee separations can be handled from your side as when you deactivate their network account access to PoolCar will also be deactivated.

We are piloting this exciting new technology very soon with a prominent University customer – more news to come!

For more information, or a quote to integrate with your Active Directory network, please contact us at sales@poolcar.com.

 

Version 4.11 to be released

This Sunday 16th November we’ll be releasing version 4.11 of PoolCar to all cloud servers and pushed to Enterprise customers who have elected to receive automatic updates.

Enterprise customers who have elected to ‘pull’ from our repository server can do so after this Sunday, although we would recommend doing so later in the week in case any issues are identified Monday or Tuesday.

Lots of goodies in this release, the hits keep on comin!

Server security maintenance

We have been advised by our wonderful hosting company that a reboot of our servers *may* be required per the dates and times below.

To quote from their email:

While we do everything we can to minimize service interruptions, the security of your environment is our highest priority.  As part of the solution that is being developed, we anticipate that a reboot may be necessary within portions of our Cloud Servers infrastructure.  We understand that any downtime impacts your business and we do not make this decision lightly.

Reboots, if required, are quick – usually no longer than a few minutes.

Times:

  • Northern Virginia: 10:00PM EST on Tuesday, November 18th (3:00AM GMT, 11:00AM HKT, 2:00PM AEDT on Wednesday, November 19th) to 8:00AM EST on Wednesday, November 19th
  • London: 10:00PM GMT on Friday, November 21st (4:00PM CST on Friday, November 21st, 6:00AM HKT, 9:00AM AEDT on Saturday, November 22nd) to 8:00AM GMT on Saturday, November 22nd
  • Syndey: 10:00PM AEDT on Monday, November 24th (5:00AM CST, 11:00AM GMT, 7:00PM HKT on Monday, November 24th) to 4:00AM AEDT on Tuesday, November 25th

The Sydney reboots may effect both GPS servers, PoolCar provisioning servers and PoolCar application servers.

Thank you for your understanding.

Beta of mobile interface

Announcing the beta of our new mobile interface.

Simply login to your PoolCar account on a smartphone and the mobile interface will appear. It’s a beta – which is geek speak for “may be buggy”, so we’d appreciate your feedback. The plan is to keep feedback open for a period of time then develop native iPhone and Android applications using the same functionality.

The mobile interface is designed for end-users to manage their bookings.

As always, your feedback is welcome and is how we build great software that meets your needs.