Sep 18, 2014

Friend to friend car sharing service implementation with Kinoma Create

 I joined AT&T Hackathon @ Super Mobility Week - Code for Car & Home at Las Vegas on September 6-7 with my two other team members Rama and Kishore. This hackathon is aimed towards developing new applications for connected car and home industry by utilizing AT&T api’s and IoT hardware and software provided by multiple vendors present here. In the hackathon, we tried to make a friend to friend car sharing system which is more secure and interactive than existing services. We intended to use Kinoma Create platform as in car unit interface that interacts with a driver by visual and audio information. We joined Kinoma Create meetup before the hackathon and Kinoma team lend us their pre-release version to be used with our Hackathon. So, we would like to share our experience in this entry.

Our motivation for the AT&T hackathon

Most people in United states use their car less than 2 hours per day, that is less than 10% utilization rate. At the same time when you need an additional car for a weekend trip or travel outside of home town it is expensive to rent a car. Our concept takes advantage connected car technology to easily share this underutilized car between friends and family. Both parties in this transaction will be benefited as borrower can use car for fraction of rental car cost while owner can use incentive (monetary or points) from this transaction for his future travel. As new P2P car sharing application like getaround, relayrides are getting popular but they will not be useful for sharing cars with friends, family and neighbors. Since these P2P companies takes a portion of rental cost they will not suit sharing scenarios where friends and family will use each others car. In our scenario, we are not considering monetary incentive but this can be easily added as form of points or any other form to our system.

Our major motivation in this project is to develop an application that can help a friend, trusted neighbor or family member to easily request, safely use and return car as per agreed schedule. At the same time our application also aims to provide car owner with tools to learn about borrowers past driving score, giving guidelines about his car usage and report on how his car was handled by borrower. To achieve this we developed friend-to-friend car sharing application to solve technical challenges in car sharing scenarios as discussed here.

Technical challenges for friend to friend car sharing

Next, we explain technical challenges for the car sharing that we tried to solve in the AT&T hackathon based on the scenario above. We tried to solve common issues we see when we share own cars with friends, family and neighbors.

Owner’s problem

  • (security) It is difficult to give car keys to borrowers if owner is not available at the time of pickup.
    • (1) Actual world authentication
      • If the owner is not available at the time of pickup, the owner can’t check borrower’s ID and the borrower lose a chance to share his car. To make a sharing process easy, the owner needs not only online authentication at a time of reservation but also actual world authentication that works remotely.
    • (2) Electronic keys for car and garage 
      • If the owner is not available at the time of pickup, the owner also can’t give keys to the borrower. The owner need a way to provide electronic keys for car and garage from remote.
  • (safety) Owner wants his car to be driven without aggressive driving and return on schedule without any problems.
    • (3) reinforce the borrower with good driving behavior
      • Even though the borrower is reliable person, the borrower might not be safe driver. The owner might want to have a way to monitor the borrower’s driving and reinforce the borrower with good driving behavior. 

Borrower’s problem

  • (usability) It may be difficult for borrowers to drive this car without knowing operation details or local driving etiquette.
    • (4) Less distractive car operation details for a car
      • It is common that we don’t know how to operate a car if we rent different type of car from own car. The borrower wants to operate the car with the same way as his own car.

System overview

Our solution aims to provide two main features for car sharing. First it support automatic borrower authentication through in-home unit. Our in-home unit detects proximity of borrower by bluetooth beacon technology and enables him to access car parked inside a garage. Second we provide authentication and driving related information through in-car unit.

Why we chose Kinoma Create

We planned to use Arduino and Raspberry Pi to implement the in-car unit. Although, when we joined the Kinoma Create meetup, we found out that it supports the following requirements and it is easier to implement the in-car unit. So we decided to use it for the in-car unit.
  • Built in network functionality to communicate with server and mobile application
  • Display and touch interface to implement interactive user interface for a driver

Our impression on Kinoma Create

Kinoma platform is helpful for us to quickly develop a simple prototype for our application due to its hardware programming capabilities, built in connectivity and sample application provided by Kinoma team. Developing application on Kinoma studio is straightforward and easy to port completed application to platform. Programmers who are familiar with Java Script may find it easy to write new applications while Hardware programmers like flexibility of programmable pins. Their examples need to be expanded for network and protocol applications but with little effort we were testing our first applications.


We defined and created a simple car sharing application for friends, family and neighbors. We used multiple hardware platforms. We used Kinoma Create to build our in-car unit quickly with built in network functionality and display and touch interface. Through the prototyping, we saw potential of Kinoma Create for mainly web developer to build IoT application rapidly.


Thank you Kinoma Team for providing pre-release version! Since Kinoma Create is nice product for Javascript programmers to take a step into IoT world. We believe this product will become successful in IoT industry.

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