3/27/2018 11:17:40 AM
Creating connected car apps just got easier
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App Developer Magazine
Creating connected car apps just got easier

SDK

Creating connected car apps just got easier


Tuesday, March 27, 2018
10,937

Creating apps for connected autos can be easier when you have the right tools. Smartcar is a platform for doing just that.

When was the last time you sat down and wrote an app that would communicate with a car? I thought so - me either. The challenge with making automotive apps is knowing which vehicles you can target. With almost every auto manufacturer doing their own thing, and little documentation about how to make it all play nice with your code, it can be enough to make developers wave their hands in the air in a salute of "no thanks".

But that's where a company called Smartcar comes in. Sahas Katta, CEO of Smartcar explains, "Smartcar is a connected car platform for developers. We make it possible for application developers to create new connected car experiences for vehicles of any make and model. Smartcar's APIs let third-party apps read data (think “odometer reading” or “fuel tank level”) and send commands to vehicles (think “lock/unlock”). Once a developer creates an account, Smartcar provides a host of documentation, SDKs, and tech support that make the process of developing for cars a safe, seamless, and exciting experience.

We dug in a bit farther with Sahas to find out more about using Smartcar to create your next connected car app.

ADM: Why should a developer use Smartcar? (What are the advantage of using the Smartcar Platform?)


Katta: Smartcar makes it easy for developers to focus on creating great new experiences for their users without having to worry about dealing with things like aftermarket hardware retrofits. As developers may use different tech stacks, Smartcar providers a variety of SDKs to support a variety of programming languages including Node.js, Python, Java, etc. Plus, a developer's app will work on a variety of vehicle brands without any additional work. We support companies of all sizes from small startups to large Fortune 500 companies with enterprise-grade requirements.

ADM: What kind of apps can be created for connected vehicles?


Katta: Smartcar has seen a wide variety of applications created for connected vehicles, from developers focusing on usage-based insurance to smart parking. These categories also include on-demand mobility services, fleet management, car-sharing, car rental and maintenance services. Developers on the platform have access to all of the endpoints Smartcar has made available, making the opportunities for innovation and evolution endless.

ADM: Do the vehicles need (hardware or software) modifications to be able to work with Smartcar?


Katta: Smartcar provides a pure software solution to developers looking to build apps for cars. No need for OBD-II dongles or aftermarket hardware - Smartcar works on connected vehicles right out of the box!

ADM: Which vehicles are currently supported on Smartcar?


Katta: Smartcar currently supports 12M vehicles across three brands: BMW, Hyundai and Tesla. Stay tuned - we'll be announcing five more brands in 2018!

ADM: My backend is written in Python - can I still use Smartcar?


Katta: Smartcar was built to support both small developer teams and large outfits. Whatever your backend is written in - Node, Java, or Python - the platform can support you.

ADM: If I run into any issues, how do I get help?


Katta: Smartcar is a self-service platform, but our tech team is always on hand to help. You can reach out to our engineers while working on your app itself, and every developer has an account manager who's always available to help.
Sahas Katta
Sahas Katta, CEO of Smartcar

ADM: How easy is it to integrate Smartcar's APIs into our existing app?


Katta: Most developers are able to integrate the functionality of Smartcar's APIs into their application in less than a day!

ADM: What are the Smartcar API endpoints that are available?


Katta: Smartcar's documentation is publicly available at www.smartcar.com/docs. We offer any end point that is connected to a vehicle's cloud, from lock/unlock to honking the horns to the sunroof to the battery level!

ADM: Is it possible to unlock the car's doors?


Katta: Yes. App developers have been able to use that standard API to create a wide variety of new experiences. On-demand car-washing services have been able to unlock vehicles to detail the inside of their customer's vehicles, while insurance providers have added security features to their apps allowing consumers to lock the doors of all their vehicles with the click of a button.

ADM: Is it easy to retrieve a car's location?


Katta: Absolutely! It's quick and easy to use our location API in your app. Our developers have been able to retrieve a vehicle's location to support any number of services, from mileage verification to fuel delivery to smart parking!