Škoda is testing a carpooling app

The Czech carmaker has over 30 digital projects underway

Škoda Auto is moving into the digital arena, and is currently developing software that, for example, will make it easier for people to carpool or to find parking spots. Škoda Auto DigiLab is a new division of the Czech carmaker aimed at creating digital solutions to increase mobility and to develop greener and smarter cars. The lab is located in Holešovice in Prague 7.

The first project launched by the lab is Jezdíme spolu (We Ride Together), and it helps to facilitate carpooling. The number of parking spaces in Prague is limited, and carpooling is one way to reduce the number of cars in the city center.

There are already ridesharing apps, but Jezdíme spolu is free to use, unlike some of the others. Drivers can charge the riders a fee for expenses, but it can't be above a set limit stated in the rules of the app. Drivers also have to guarantee the car is in good working order and keep the rider informed of any changes about the scheduled rides.

Škoda Auto DigiLab used software from German firm SAP to develop the app. Over 500 people are testing it now in a three-month trial. After the trial is over, Škoda will consider whether the app is ready to be released to its customers, according to daily Mladá fronta Dnes (MfD).

Škoda says that it is looking beyond simply being a maker of cars and parts, and moving into the digital realm to enhance how the cars are used.

“The car is not just a product anymore. It becomes a key part of solutions that radically enhances mobility as a service. This extends to the area of shared economy where individual mobility becomes available to everyone, anytime, anywhere,” the Škoda Auto DigiLab website states.

Currently, the lab is working on more than 30 projects. The goal is to develop new mobility solutions for the carmaker's customers. “We generate and develop ideas, test them, and turn them into customer-oriented products and services at a rapid pace to enable a new era of mobility today; where driving is easy, safer, more efficient and comfortable,” the lab's website states.

Another project that the lab is working is for smart parking. The lab is working with cities to develop a way for motorists to digitally locate the closest parking spot to a specified location. Other software in development would monitor and analyze the sounds the car makes and diagnose potential problems before repairs are needed, according to MfD.

The lab also cooperates with Volkswagen and other brands under the Volkswagen banner. Škoda has been a part of Volkswagen since 1991.

The lab is also open to exploring new ideas and works something like a venture capital fund to help start ideas. Information on how to submit ideas is on the lab's website

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