flinc AG was founded in May 2010, based on a concept and a prototype developed at Hochschule Darmstadt. A technology test with > 4.000 users has been conducted successfully from April to June 2011. Release 1.0 has been launched nationwide in Germany in July 2011. Media coverage was overwhelming, and within three weeks the number of registered users grew five-fold.
flinc is cooperating closely but non-exclusively with Deutsche Telekom (T-City project, connected car) and Navigon. We have been recognized in a number of entrepreneur contests (winner WECONOMY, European Satellite Navigation Competition, finalist enable2start, …). Media interest is substantial as we address the trends in sustainable mobility, mobile internet, social networks, internet of things and sharing.
Project: social mobility network
flinc is the first Dynamic Ridesharing service that connects smartphones and internet-enabled satellite navigation systems with social communities. Through a real-time analysis of traffic movements, flinc is able to arrange seats in cars within a few seconds. It combines GPS and location-based capabilities with social networking to offer a dynamic, safe and automated service that gets you from A to B.
With flinc, drivers can reduce their mobility costs drastically with a minimum of effort. It only takes one click to start using flinc - to see friends, go shopping or commuting. The integration in navigation software enables the driver to navigate directly to the passenger without a telephone call or text message. For flinc-riders, a mobile phone changes into a real alternative to the privately owned vehicle. Pre-planned or in real-time, flinc can establish a ride and can take passengers from any location (including their front door) to the destination of their choice.
flinc’s route matching algorithm finds riders anywhere along the route of the driver and calculates detour and price. Users can choose whether they want to be matched only with direct contacts, peer groups (companies, universities, others) or with anyone in the network. Via Facebook Connect flinc users can connect to their friends, invite them to flinc and share information. flinc provides means for electronic payment and user rating.
A typical use case for a driver is to offer a ride using the flinc portal on his desktop. flinc will automatically start matching his offer with ride requests in the data base and inform the driver of a match via e-mail and/or push notification to his smartphone. Once in the car, he starts the navigation app on his smartphone and selects the trip that he had defined earlier. If he had already been matched with a passenger, the navigation app will guide him to the passenger, to the passenger’s destination and to his final destination. During the trip, flinc will continue to match the driver’s route with ride requests from other passengers in real-time.
From space to industry
Space technology and expertise are deeply integrated into the system.
Currently GPS is used in mobile devices to determine its exact position for location-based services. Later the Galileo navigation system could be integrated.
ESA Business Incubation
flinc AG is hosted at ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Darmstadt, run by the German company cesah. This has provided the opportunity to consult ESA experts who have supported with technology insights and ideas to improve the system.
In addition, especially the support provided by cesah in relation to general business activities has been very helpful.