Analysis of Software Ecosystems in Freight transport - An investigation of the concept of eCall as a technological platform

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master Thesis
Software engineering and technology (MPSOF), MSc
Dahlgren, Andrea
The industry of road freight transport has a tradition of little or no information sharing, both between the transport actors and the customers of transport, and an overall scepticism towards implementation of new technologies, which historically has resulted in the business having a high level of information asymmetry for the end-users of transport. As the area of freight transport is a growing sector where goods sent by road is becoming more and more frequent, more information is documented and the supply chains become increasingly complicated in their structure. In combination, the road accidents are no longer decreasing, as more transport is done by road. If more information is shared, the road efficiency will increase, and if the goods carried by trucks was known and digitally documented, it is possible that the emergency services would have the possibility to minimize the effects of an accident. The purpose of the study is to seek an understanding if it is possible to increase the information shared between the parties of road transport by using the concept of software ecosystems, where the concept of eCall would be the platform around which a software ecosystem will evolve. The technology of eCall is a concept where a car sends information to emergency services in Europe in case of an accident about location, direction on the road and other data. The project of I_HeERO are investigating the possibility of implementing eCall in heavy goods vehicles, buses, taxis and two wheeled vehicles in Europe. With the industry of freight transport being late adapters of new technology, the sharing of data about a vehicles load and location is something the actors are sceptical towards, and it is needed to investigate the possibilities with eCall, and not solely the imagined drawbacks of sharing information. Based on the the Ecosystemability Assessment Method by Knauss and Hammouda (2014) the possibility of a software ecosystem evolving around a platform of eCall is investigated and analysed, and based on this information a general assessment of software ecosystems in road freight transport is concluded, stating that the possibility of a software ecosystem requires obvious individual benefits for the freight transport actors, as these need a push in order to adapt new information technologies. It is as well found that there are many barriers towards the implementation of software ecosystems, but these are considered social rather than technical. Moreover, it is possible that legislating the information shared by the haulage contractors and other transporters is the only way to enforce the information being shared, as many actors only advantage is the information they possess and therefor are unwilling of sharing, even though it would benefit the sector as a whole. If using a governmentally initiated software as eCall as the platform in the software ecosystem, it can be a benefit as this kind of software often have a clear roadmap and clear legislations, but a possible disadvantage can be the possibility of the fundamental functionality being decided upon too early, resulting in a limited and sluggish solution. In order to use the concept of software ecosystems, the stakeholders of freight transport are recommended to take action. The transport organisations are advised to increase their interaction with software companies, enabling the possibility of shared and better software. The actors in freight transport are advised to investigate the possibilities of information sharing and cooperation in software ecosystems. The customers of freight transport are recommended to ask question about the transport purchased and demand information. Finally, the academia are advised to further investigate projects of information sharing in freight transport, with a close cooperation with the industry and a clear connection to practice
Transport , Övrig industriell teknik och ekonomi , Transport , Other industrial engineering and economics
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