Last month, INVERS announced that it would be further expanding its proven solution for shared mobility by using carValoo’s AI-based damage detection: the new solution offers digitised and automated damage detection based on data from highly sensitive motion sensors within the car.

The data is analysed and processed by artificial intelligence to detect damages precisely and reliably. The solution immediately contributes to business success as it allows operators to reduce costs by improving damage management, increasing successful damage claims and completely digitising the rental process.

MOVE caught up with Bharath Devanathan, Chief Business Officer at INVERS and Dr. Tom Althoff, Managing Director & Co Founder of carValoo to talk all about the new partnership and how new AI technology will impact the mobility industry.


Find out more below!



Q:  For those who don’t know, tell us about Invers and carValoo and what you do.


Bharath Devanathan:  INVERS is a pioneer in car sharing and is often referred to as the inventor of car sharing technology. Our team develops solutions for automated vehicle sharing. We enable operators of mobility services like car sharing, subscription or rental to launch, operate and scale their services with integrated hardware and software solutions. With our focus in car sharing, we are today in a market leading position: nine out of ten leading carsharing providers in Germany and six out of ten leading car sharing providers in Europe run on Invers technology. Our customers include big, market-leading car sharing providers like ShareNow, MILES, Flinkster, and Getaround, for example

Invers started in 1993 when our founder, Uwe Latsch, built the first onboard unit to make a car shareable. Since then, we’ve been part of more than 350 shared mobility projects across more than 50 countries globally. Each project adds to our vision to make vehicle sharing more convenient and affordable than ownership. We have locations in Siegen, Cologne and Vancouver. The development takes place entirely in Germany.


Dr. Tom Althoff:  carValoo is an automotive tech company specializing in machine learning and AI-based products. Since 2018 we have established our unique high-precision damage detection with customers in car sharing, car rental, and logistics. This solution reliably detects even minor damages in real-time based on telematics data.

Automotive Tech is deeply rooted in our DNA: We started as an innovation project of German automotive giant thyssenkrupp and are now an independent, fast growing company. With our mission to bring trust, fairness and safety to shared mobility, we are creating the basis for scaling sustainable and attractive mobility offerings. Over the past 24 months, we have increasingly established ourselves in the industry: Vehicles equipped with carValoo technology are now on the road every day in 10+ countries.




Q:  Back in December 2022, the mobility experts at Invers identified shared mobility trends that we would see in 2023. What trends are we seeing in the shared mobility space today?


Bharath: We are seeing a very dynamic mobility market: the top-level issues that drive the industry are certainly climatechange targets, the transformation of transport, and the goal of car-free inner cities, which all require innovative mobility solutions. However, we’re also currently seeing those more specific trends we predicted late last year.

First, we expect the market for car sharing to grow by at least 20 percent. German Car-Sharing Association Bundesverband Carsharing just recently published new stats: at the beginning of this year, there were approximately 4,5 million car sharing customers, an increase of 32 percent over the previous year. This clearly demonstrates consistent growth in the market.

At the same time, we see more mobility offers with longer rental periods and more electric vehicles in shared mobility fleets, while providers continue to focus on profitability. We’re also noticing that more cities and project developers are recognizing the potential of car sharing. Recent examples of the last trend include the cooperation between the City of Las Vegas and connected car sharing marketplace Getaround; the City of Hamburg cooperating very closely with public transport and car sharing operators; and ShareOurCars partnering with car sharing expert Hiyacar to create the UK’s first neighbourhood closed loop trusted group in East Oxford.

Additionally, looking at the market from a B2B perspective, we see some dynamics in business models. The boundaries are blurring with traditional rental companies like Wheego starting car sharing and subscription services, and traditional car sharing player MILESoffering vehicles through the Billiger-Mietwagen rental platform . We are convinced thatthere’s more blurring and overlapping between sharing and rental to come.



Q:  INVERS now partners with carValoo to offer a new AI-based damage detection solution for sharing operators. Tell us about how this came about and what impacts you expct this new solution to have.


Bharath: As pioneers in car sharing technology, we’re always looking at ways to improve the car sharing experience, both for end users and for operators. Damaged vehicles Vehicle damage is an important issue in the industry, so it goes without saying that we looked into itfrom the perspective of both users and operators.

For end users, it is important to get a reliable and safe vehicle. Users feel unsafe in damaged vehicles, causing them to be uncomfortable and lose trust in the service. There are also caseswhen customers get blamed and charged for damages that were undetected earlier. At the same time, undetected damages are a huge cost driver for operators that eventually can become an impediment on their path to profitability. Damage detection is very much a manual process today, prone to errors and consuming a lot of resources. Experiences of rental companies show that in 90 percent of vehicle returns a manual inspection is not needed.

To address this challenge, we identified carValoo as a perfect partner to bring AI-based damage detection capabilities into our sharing solutions. By combining our respective expertise in automated car sharing and AI-based damage detection, we enable our customers to reduce the costs of undetected and unattributed damages and to improve safety in carsharing. In the long run, this supports operators to become profitable and improve and expand their services even further, so it will ultimately result in more shared cars, making car sharing more convenient and attractive than car ownership.


Tom: Our partnership with Invers and their unique worldwide shared mobility network is the next big step on our journey. The real-time detection of damages finally enables car sharing companies to reliably assign damages to the causer and successfully lodge claims. This does not only reduce the pain of excess repair cost, but often results in an additional three figure monthly revenue per vehicle, paving the way to profitability for many operators.

Besides the direct financial benefits, the impact of damage detection on follow up processes will be tremendous. By making carValoo damage detection available via Invers, car sharing companies will get easy access to this game changing technology.



Q:  How important is the utilisation of AI within new mobility solutions?


Tom: Accurate and automated damage detection simply does not work without artificial intelligence and machine learning. We capture precise, multi-dimensional acceleration data. The difficulty is that driving a car generates an incredible number of motion patterns: Starting with closing the doors, driving through curves, over speed bumps, and through potholes, and ending with actual damage-causing events such as collisions, bumps, or scraping the curb. For humans, it is virtually impossible to distinguish between unproblematic and relevant events in the vast amount of data generated.

Our AI evaluates this acceleration data and recognizes distinct patterns in it, transforming abstract data into concrete and actual damage reports. The beauty of it is that our algorithms naturally learn over time. Thanks to the experience of millions of miles in our customers’ vehicles, our algorithms are now extremely accurate and reliable.

The application of AI of course goes beyond damage detection. AI will help to identify mobility needs, threats and provide tailored services exactly where they are required. Data will enable operators to allocate the right vehicles in the right locations at the right time, design usage based rates, identify accident hot spots and a lot more. There is no way around simplifying fleet management through automation and technology in order to make new mobility sustainable and scalable.



Q:  What can we expect to see from INVERS and carValoo in the next 12-18 months?


Bharath: Our teams are working on several more innovations to support mobility operators in further improving customer experience as well as eventually moving to profitability. Obviously, the new solution for damage detection is key here, and we are looking forward to making it work for our customers.

We’re also continuing to work on the integration of OEM APIs. Many vehicle-as-a-service operators need to connect vehicles from different brands which sometimes come with various factory-fitted telematics units or after-market third-party systems. We are working closely with OEMs to align on the car sharing capabilities of their APIs to make sure that by using INVERS OEM Integrations, mobility operators can integrate vehicles from different manufacturers into their fleets quickly and easily, and without having to invest a great deal of development effort.

Last but not least, car sharing operators face a challenge to dynamically balance demand and vehicle supply. We aim to provide a single interface for real-time exchanges of vehiclesacross fleets of different operators. With INVERS FleetShare, operators can share vehicles with other mobility providers and generate revenue during their times of low demand. Conversely, they can also add vehicles to their fleet from other providers during times of high demand. With a couple of clicks, FleetShare allows operators to dynamically modify theirfleets without the effort that usually comes with asset acquisition. They can increase revenue, improve user experience, and by optimizing utilization instead of growing fleets reduce the environmental burden on the city.


Tom: In addition to the continued development of our services and technologies, we intend to expand our global footprint in the coming months. We are already working on our first projects outside Europe, particularly in North America and Asia.

In the short to medium term, we want to further establish our AI-based damage detection as the standard in shared mobility. To achieve this, we will also intensify our cooperation with OEMs and insurance companies in the future.