The 3 reasons why you should experiment with the auto API

Janvier 21 2023
Actualités

We have some interesting updates to share regarding the Auto API which could directly impact how developers of fleet management and logbook applications plan th

Imagine getting a 1000-car fleet online and connected to fleet management software in a matter of hours without the need for hardware, and without worrying about the costs or inconveniences that come hand-in-hand with the logistics of dongle installation, delivery, storage and replacement. So far, fleet tracking without hardware has been nearly impossible or heavily compromised. Despite the present very obvious shortcomings, experimenting with an API-based approach should already be at the top of every CTO’s agenda.Mainly, the coverage and refresh rates have been the predominant bottlenecks for all car data platforms when looking to get more companies excited about the API approach, which is why in this article we’ll be covering the improvements that have been made primarily to the refresh rate and why, in our view, an API integration is fast becoming an appealing choice for fleet managers.

Reason 1: The basic data points availability


The Mileage and Vehicle Location data points required for even the most basic applications are available via Auto API and are used for calculating distance travelled, and for keeping track of the exact location of each vehicle. Our sample apps and vehicle emulators in the platform show the user experience for linking a single vehicle, but BMW has developed a streamlined consent flow especially for fleet owners:

  1. In order to connect a large number of vehicles, the fleet owner submits a list of the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) of all the BMW vehicles he or she wishes to connect
  2. The fleet owner then completes an agreement, consenting to share data from each of the vehicles in question
  3. The final step for the fleet owner is to exchange the relevant Authorisation Code for an Access Token using the API

Reason 2: The hidden cost of hardware lies in its lack of scalability

First, a quick thought experiment. Although OBD-II dongles offer cross-brand coverage and a great data refresh rate at an initial price that, at first glance, seems reasonable, managing them is a pain. The problems start already during initial installation and setup.

Reason 3: Improvements to refresh rate are here

Using’s Auto API, fleet management companies can track mileage and location on demand. While the Auto API is already powerful the data refresh rate has been less ideal for some use cases. It is influenced by our work with the manufacturers and unfortunately cannot be rushed.

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All eligible BMW models can reliably send data at what might be considered the beginning and end of a trip. An update is sent when a driver unlocks and opens the driver’s door, and another occurs when the driver leaves the car and locks the doors. Now, the newest BMW models can also send data during the trip, every 2 minutes or 3 kilometres, whichever comes first.

This removes yet another roadblock from a much more elegant way to connect cars. Hopefully these updates will bring a car API integration to more companies' technical roadmaps very soon. Understandably, the coverage and refresh rates will remain the potential bottlenecks for all car data platforms for some time but the time to plan for the future is now.

The data updates at only the start and end of a trip have been a prohibiting factor for many companies. However, coming shortly to platform are continual mid-trip updates!

William Bull
General Manager Linkbycar

All eligible BMW models can reliably send data at what might be considered the beginning and end of a trip. An update is sent when a driver unlocks and opens the driver’s door, and another occurs when the driver leaves the car and locks the doors.

Now, the newest BMW models can also send data during the trip, every 2 minutes or 3 kilometres, whichever comes first:

  • In order to connect a large number of vehicles, the fleet owner submits a list of the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) of all the BMW vehicles he or she wishes to connect
  • The fleet owner then completes an agreement, consenting to share data from each of the vehicles in question
  • The final step for the fleet owner is to exchange the relevant Authorisation Code for an Access Token using the API

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