Volkswagen Group, the largest car maker in Europe, today revealed how it used Splunk’s data management and analytics platform to underpin an Internet of Things experiment at this year’s CeBit technology conference. 

The German automotive giant, which owns luxury car brands such as Lamborghini, Porsche and Bugatti, tasked its forward-thinking Lab division with collecting data from 10 connected shuttle vehicles as they drove around the city of Hannover over a five-day period giving free lifts to delegates. 

A custom-built iPhone app was used to collect data on aspects such as the electric vehicle’s battery status, speed, temperature, and location. 

The data was then transmitted “over the air” from the iPhones to a Volkswagen data centre before being passed on to two MacBook Pros and fed into Splunk Enterprise 6.1 beta. 

Christian Seidel, project Leader and a Volkswagen Data Lab employee, said that he and his colleagues used Splunk to create a number of dashboards and heat maps. 

The heat maps showed things like where cars consumed the most power and where they travelled at the highest speed on average.

On one particular day, the team also integrated heart rate monitoring smart watches so they could look at the correlation between speed of the vehicle and the driver’s heart rate.

Another variable that the team wanted to monitor was whether people used the shuttle service more when it rained. 

“Cars have a wiper sensor that shows when wipers are on or off so we could but there was no rain,” said Seidel. “It was a nice idea.”

Cornelia Schaurecker, head of Volkswagen Lab, said: “After 5 days we had 5,600km and loads of data.”

After showcasing the project at the fair, Seidel said that he and his team received overwhelmingly positive feedback. 

“Most people liked it at the fair, particularly fleet managers,” he said.