AMQP Cloud Message Queuing solution designed for finance companies is being used in world's first telematics system for production electric vehicles

10 January 2011

Message Queue IT technology developed for finance institutions; particularly investment banks, asset management and hedge fund companies, is playing a key role in the world’s first telematics system for production electric vehicles (EVs).

In fleets of conventional diesel or petrol-powered vehicles, telematics is used primarily as a vehicle tracking device. Because EVs have much more sophisticated vehicle management systems, fleet managers can use telematics to monitor additional elements like battery charge. Telemetry can also monitor battery performance down to individual cells, ensuring any potential issues are quickly identified and fixed.

When Smith Electric Vehicles, the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial electric vehicles, began designing its Smith Telemetry system, it realised the huge volume of data signals generated by each vehicle would require either massive investment in servers, or third party support.

StormMQ’s innovative machine-to-machine message queuing was designed for banks and finance houses, as a secure and cost-effective method of collating and conveying highly confidential data. It works by storing the data in a ‘cloud’ and releasing it in a steady stream, so that the recipient’s server does not get overloaded.

The same StormMQ technology now allows Smith Telemetry to collect 27,500 messages a second, delivering them on a managed basis to the Smith server. StormMQ was awarded the contract based on affordability, scalability and ease of implementation. It is now in operation for Smith Electric Vehicles in both the UK and the USA.

Robin Mackie, Chief Technical Officer of Smith Electric Vehicles US Corporation, said: “The sheer volume of messages was a significant issue for us, along with the requirement to rapidly scale up, as we roll out more vehicles to customers around the world.

“To develop and run our own multi-server messaging queue in-house would have been extremely expensive - and we would still need to expand it in subsequent years, as our business is growing very quickly.

“We estimate that StormMQ has cost us around a tenth of any comparable system we looked at and delivers us a fixed monthly cost per vehicle which decreases as our fleet grows.

“As a pioneer in our respective field, it’s rare that you see another service that is so revolutionary yet simple; that can help us deliver a major benefit to our clients; and that would have either have been almost impossible to achieve any other way”.

Smith US expects to install more than 500 ‘Smith Newton’ electric trucks with Smith Telemetry by 2011, as part of a $32 million grant from the US Department of Energy (DoE). In the UK, Smith Electric is fitting the first 50 systems to ‘Smith Edison’ all-electric vans, delivered through the Government’s Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme.

Smith Telemetry collates and interprets more than 1,800 data sets from each EV’s drive line, controller and battery management system, along with a GPS tracker. For the first time, a fleet manager can know precisely how much battery power is left in each of their vehicles, at the push of a button. This allows fleets to maximise the use of their EVs and makes the vehicles more accommodating for unscheduled, additional trips.

Other EV telematics exist on development or pre-production vehicles, but Smith Telemetry is the first system for EVs that are on the road today.

Alan Malby, Powertrain Manager at Smith Electric, said: “StormMQ was the only platform that met our requirements and more importantly, we could evaluate it and deploy extremely quickly.

“Even we were staggered by the sheer volume of messaging that would be generated by the vehicles. We chose StormMQ because in extensive tests we proved that it’s capable of handling these huge volumes and is easy to scale.”

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