It’s widely known that a MINI offers drivers an unrivaled exhilarating go-kart feel, transforming even the most mundane journey into something much more fun. For the first time, MINI is launching a new service to enable MINI owners to share this unmistakable experience with friends, acquaintances and family.
With the new MINI Sharing app, MINI owners can grant friends, family members or colleagues permission to open and start their vehicle via a smartphone. As part of a pilot project in the Spanish capital, this personal form of car sharing is now being tested under everyday conditions.
The peer-to-peer sharing trial is designed for a fleet of up to 500 vehicles. Owners of current MINI models produced since March 2018 will be invited to participate, and their vehicle will be equipped or retrofitted with a MINI Sharing Module that enables access and engine start via smartphone.
The trail in Madrid will provide important insights for the global expansion of the MINI brand’s sharing economy activities. The BMW Group has identified digital mobility services as one of the future fields to advance as part of NUMBER ONE> NEXT strategy.
With its increased commitment to the D-ACES (Design, Autonomous, Connected, Electrified and Services) topics, the company is playing a leading role in shaping mobility of the future.
"MINI drivers are always ahead of their time, just like their groundbreaking and modern vehicles," says Sebastian Mackensen, MINI Senior Vice President. "With MINI Sharing, we enable our customers in Spain to participate in the sharing economy. This new technology fits perfectly with our desirable cars and our innovative customer demographic."
MINI Sharing allows the vehicle owner to share their MINI with up to ten people of their choosing, with the vehicle availability highlighted in the app's inbuilt calendar function. The guest drivers can use the app to make a reservation request from their smartphone with just a few taps.
After the owner has granted their consent, the location of the vehicle and pedestrian directions are displayed on their phone. Upon arrival at the vehicle, the smartphone on which the MINI Sharing App is installed becomes the car key.
A Bluetooth connection between the smartphone and the MINI makes it possible to open the vehicle doors and start the engine by pressing the start/stop toggle switch.
If desired, the MINI owner can mark specific individuals as VIP users in the MINI Sharing App. These individuals can book the vehicle spontaneously without having to wait for the owner's consent.
After the guest driver completes their journey, the MINI will be parked in an area agreed with the owner and locked via smartphone.
The MINI Sharing App generates a report with the travel data required for billing, and the guest driver is presented with the opportunity to transfer a payment to the MINI owner via PayPal. The cost calculation for the MINI Sharing App is based on a flat rate of € 0.30 per kilometre driven.
Insurance cover for each vehicle can be extended easily, with a lump sum for each additional guest driver participating in the MINI Sharing trial. For data protection reasons, the MINI owner can view the location of their vehicle at any time via the MINI Sharing App - with the exception of instances where another passenger is traveling inside the vehicle.
MINI Sharing creates new opportunities to share the MINI experience with friends and family. Once again, MINI is taking on a pioneering and innovative role in further advancing urban mobility. Based on the trial information gathered from the MINI Sharing Community in Madrid, this innovation could go on to conquer additional cities worldwide.
Seeing Machines, an industry leader in computer vision technologies which enable machines to see, understand and assist people, launched phase one of its world-leading automated vehicle trial, CAN Drive, supported by the Rachel Stephe-Smith MLA and the ACT Government, which has committed A$1.35m to the project.
CAN Drive, the first automated vehicle trial in the world to focus on driver behaviour, using the Seeing Machines technology, is getting underway at Canberra's Sutton Driver Training Track, testing how quickly a driver can be ready to resume control of an automated vehicle.
The Seeing Machines software monitors the driver's facial movements and expressions to determine whether they are paying sufficient attention and sounds an alert if they need to look at the road and retain full control of the vehicle.
"The ACT Government is proud to have formed an industry partnership with local company Seeing Machines to conduct this trial," said Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA. "Seeing Machines is leading the world in decoding the interaction between people and machines, as increasingly-automated vehicles are developed."
"Canberra is a progressive and growing city that has earned the reputation as Australia's testbed for innovative new technology and business models that can improve the lives of our citizens: we've supported Uber into our city, we're hosting world-first drone delivery trials, and now we're pioneering research to make automated vehicles safer," she added.
Seeing Machines is calling for Canberra drivers who are interested in taking part in the trial. Following this first phase at Sutton Driver Training Track, the trial will progress to phase two, where it is expected to move to Canberra's roads to study driver behaviour in real world conditions.
Seeing Machines Chairman Ken Kroeger commented: "The data we collect in trials such as CAN Drive is critical to advancing safety of communities all around the world. Automated technologies are emerging across many transport sectors and it is Seeing Machines' goal, through our driver monitoring platform, to help advance these developments with safety as the highest priority. The continued support of the ACT Government helps Seeing Machines sustain its leadership position as we develop our core technology to meet the needs of our partners, customers and stakeholders."
A turbocharged version of Volvo’s S60 sedan is being trialed by the ACT Police as a potential addition to its car fleet. Volvo Car Australia has loaned an S60 T6 R-Design all-wheel drive sedan to the ACT Policing Traffic Operations fleet which is evaluating the S60 its suitability for use as a police vehicle. The six-cylinder S60 T6 R-Design is a turbocharged sedan that can reach 100 km/h in just 5.7 seconds. The Officer in Charge of Traffic Operations, Sergeant Rod Anderson, said the extended trial would enable a full assessment of the S60’s capabilities.
“Police vehicles are required to perform to a high level in dynamic, high stress environments. By doing this trial we can obtain direct feedback from our officers on how the S60 performs under various driving conditions. We are particularly interested in our officers’ opinions on the all-wheel drive capability of the S60 and what advantages it offers over our current rear-wheel drive fleet.” Volvo Car Australia Managing Director, Kevin McCann, said: “Volvo has a proven track record in supplying highway surveillance and rapid response vehicles to police forces around the world, including Sweden, Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK.
“The S60 T6 R-Design is a high performance sedan with a range of active and passive safety features such as Adaptive Cruise Control with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection to protect both drivers and other road users. We look forward to working closely with ACT Police to assess the S60’s suitability to meet its operational requirements.”