7 Uses Of An API In The Automotive Industry
You may have heard about API on more than one occasion. But, what are they? API stands for application programming interface, which is a way to communicate two or more programs between them. It is a software interface that is able to offer services or solutions to other applications or software. A good example to understand how APIs work is how Google pays the Weather Channel for its climate API so that Google can provide weather information. Similarly, most of the websites and mobile applications you use on a daily basis have API integrations to work.
The automotive industry is becoming more and more competitive, and they must keep up to date with technology-related issues. This is why a lot of companies in the industry have invested heavily in API to develop their own mobile applications and offer technological solutions for their websites. This allows them to create unique user experiences, offer innovative services and products, and give them competitive advantages.
The development of vehicle technologies and APIs is not something in hands of just automotive manufacturers, but also in third-party companies that have collected tons of data on vehicles through the years, resulting in huge databases that offer all kinds of information, including vehicle images, VIN decoding, vehicle historical records, license plate scanning, safety and navigation systems, among many others.
Now the question might be… what uses has an API have in the automotive industry?
APIs can be integrated into any application or website. Here are some use cases:
- OCR solutions: Scan Vehicle Identification Numbers and License Plates
This is a great option to integrate into a mobile application. An OCR API allows the user to scan a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and/or a license plate, and it translates a picture into a written series of characters. This kind of API allows you to scan directly from the vehicle, from a picture, or from a paper document. It simplifies the process for the user, and it’s very easy to use. Some providers even include decoding of the VIN or license plate on their API. Our chosen provider for this API is Vehicles Databases: the accuracy of their API is more than 90% and they also include the ability to scan VIN barcodes.
- Vehicle Specifications
As we mentioned before, there are companies that have enormous databases with wide information about thousands of vehicles (cars, motorcycles, trucks, etc) and that can retrieve details such as year, make, model, trim, engine, technical specifications, standard and optional equipment, exterior and interior details and warranty details, just by entering the VIN of the vehicle. This API can be integrated into mobile applications or websites and is great for dealerships since they can have an overview of the vehicle to present precise information to their customers.
- Navigation System
Many modern vehicles have a navigation system included, which we usually see on a screen in the central panel of the car. This has become the replacement for GPS or maps on mobile phones since it’s already integrated into the vehicle and it’s very easy to use. This is, of course, an API for manufacturers, which improves the user experience and guarantees safety while driving, since there are no distractions related to the use of a phone or another device to get guidance and directions to arrive at a certain destination.
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- Vehicle Data (Present And Historical records)
This is an API that amazes us: the possibility of having access to historical and recent data of a vehicle, just by entering its VIN or license plate. Many websites and mobile apps have this API integrated and provide what you may know as a “vehicle history report”, such as the ones offered by Instant VIN Reports or Carfax. This API is a key to the vehicle’s past, returning records such as accidents, previous owners, odometer readings, auction data, services, and repairs made, among many more.
- Device Integration
Nowadays, we have more facilities than ever before. There are APIs out there that connect our cars to our devices, such as mobile phones or smartwatches. What does this mean? That you can have information about your vehicle just a touch away, including theft alerts, odometer and trip information, tire pressure alerts and information, and even remote start, lock and unlock. These trends are changing the relationship between car owners and their own car since it becomes a very personalized experience.
- Window Sticker Generation
Another amazing API for dealerships. This API can be integrated into your website and provide window stickers (also known as Monroney labels). These stickers are a mandatory document all over the USA, and it’s very important for dealerships since it states all the vehicle specifications, such as year, make and model, technical features, interior and exterior details, factory and optional packages, government ratings, and annual fuel usage and price. It is a label that goes attached to the vehicle window, and it is available for both used and new vehicles. This API can enhance your company, and take your business to the next level.
- Vehicle Services And Maintenance
There are companies offering this API that gives access to huge databases, which include tons of information on used vehicles that returns information and advice about the next services and maintenance for a vehicle, based on its condition. It even includes an estimated price for the repairs. We highly recommend this API for garages and dealerships, since it even includes information about open recalls and can both avoid the customer an issue, and guarantee a deal for the garage or dealership.
As we can see, APIs can do almost anything in today’s world. As the automotive industry keeps evolving, they must also keep up with the latest technology, seeing the benefits and advantages they can have, and offer the best service and experience to their users. There are already a lot of automakers and dealerships that have integrated these and more APIs into their services and products, but we’ll see this trend increasing, in order to attract more customers and create new revenue streams. On the other hand, we will also see a lot of companies become interested in offering these kinds of services. If you are looking for these solutions for your company, we highly recommend checking out Vehicle Databases, a company that offers more than 8 APIs related to the automotive industry, allowing you and your business to find several solutions in just one place. They also offer free demonstrations and testing, being ahead of time in these regards.
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