London is not only the capital of England, as we all know, but also a capital of fashion & luxury business that attracts millennial millionaires, fashion designers, and brands.
Once we got an email from Matthew, our client, who was inspired by our blog post about taxi-hailing mobile app development.
“Hi The APP Solutions team,
I have both an exciting and challenging project for you.
Can you develop a taxi booking app for the luxury segment?
Keep in mind that here, in London, the app will be promoted by fashion influences, like Virgil Abloh, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear”.
We were more than excited about such an opportunity.
After we contacted Matthew, we clarified more details about the project.
HYPR is a-first-of-its-kind supercar booking taxi app that works on the subscription basis in the London area. Its vehicle fleet includes Rolls Royce, Gelentwagen, Lamborghini, and other supercars, popular among wealthy millennials who prefer to rent cars than buy them.
Matthew already had several screens of his mobile app design, so he was looking for a development team that would build the code part for four standalone products, as well as back-end logic and stable infrastructure.
He also emphasized the limited time frames. We had only four months to develop the app’s MVP so that the client could show it to the commission of Transport for London(TFL). It was quite challenging to book an appointment in TFL, which is possible only every 6 months. We had to demonstrate the product and receive certification, so knowing the strict deadlines, we had no room for mistakes.
Project Goals and Objectives
- We needed to create a luxury taxi-hailing app that gives users the feeling of belonging to a closed community of VIPs. The concept of private membership clubs is pretty common in the UK.
- The app should operate on a subscription basis. Thus, every potential member should be verified by the Admin.
- We needed to build four distinct products, such as a subscription website, an Admin panel, driver and passenger apps, equally useful for all participants.
- We also needed to make the apps compliant with the Technical Solution Requirements of Transport for London.
- Find appropriate payment gateway for Subscription website and a develop custom price calculation algorithm
During the development phase, we faced the following challenges:
- UI/UX design. Since it’s a luxury product, our team had to make the UX very smooth and user friendly.
- Detailed documentation. Due to tight deadlines, our developers needed to develop a clear code without bugs from the first attempt. Thus, we needed to create super-detailed technical documentation and determine all possible user stories and scenarios beforehand.
- TFL compliance. Our technical documentation had to be compliant with the Transport for London Technical Solution Demonstration Guidance and Technical Documentation Guidance for PHO Applicants. Transport of London pays extra attention to features connected with lost and found property, complaints and compliments, vehicle details, bookings records, and private hire drivers.
- Four products at once. Apart from creating the Admin panel and Subscription website, we needed to develop fully-fledged mobile applications for Drivers and Passengers with geolocation, personal profile, estimated pickup time, optimize the road to avoid traffic jams, and make both apps work simultaneously.
- Price aggregation algorithm. We needed to create a custom price generation algorithm that would generate the ride price by analyzing multiple factors. The algorithm determines the ride price by combining the car’s rate, driver’s location, the amount of time the driver waits for the passenger, the passenger’s desire to extend the ride, ride length, and so on. In the case of the driver’s location being too far away from the passenger, we needed to develop functionality that would offer similar cars nearby and calculate the ride’s cost.
- Money refund logic. Since the app is targeted at the luxury segment, the first project release must work without bugs. At the same time, we faced issues with money refunds when the passenger canceled the ride. In this case, the money refund depends on many factors, including when the passenger hailed a car, passenger’s membership type, driver location, and others.
- Hidden phone numbers. Since the app’s users belong to a luxury society, they respect their privacy. Thus, we needed to hide real app users’ phone numbers and mask them with random phone numbers from the London area.
- Real-time geolocation. The app should always show the current driver’s position using GPS integrated into the mobile device. The main challenge here was to choose the right geolocation API because most third-party geolocation modules work with delays.
- Limited resources. During this project, we often compared ourselves with the team that developed the Uber mobile app. But, unlike the Uber team, we had limited resources, including developers, funds, and timeframes, making our mission to develop bug-free luxury mobile apps almost impossible.
- Bonus programs. At this step, we needed to develop the logic for HYPR’s bonus program, which included several user groups. The app awards some users with 100 pounds they can use for rides. Also, some users receive a free subscription for several months, while others receive a life-time free subscription.
One Solution, Four Products
We developed HYPR, a transportation platform that offers exclusive service of supercar hiring for its customers. The platform consists of:
A web portal allows applicants to submit forms for registration in the HYPR app.
A web portal allows Admin to view and manage Applicants and Customers, Drivers, vehicles, manage car models, prices, and review statistics from both driver and passenger apps.
A mobile application for Members, i.e., passengers who were approved for registration and can use the HYPR App. Members can hail a supercar, schedule the departure time, choose the available supercar model.
A mobile application for Drivers. Driver app users can sign in to the app, add car details, view all orders nearby, pick up passengers, and complete rides.
How we did it
Step 1. Make the apps compliant with TFL requirements
Firstly, our business analysts checked all Transport for London requirements concerning essential app features to make the project technical documentation compliant with it.
Step 2. Write technical documentation
Secondly, our business analysts, together with tech leads and developers, started to write technical documentation for the project, highlighting all possible scenarios and user stories for both driver and passenger apps. We also created the best possible infrastructure of the HYPR platform.
Step 3. Prioritize features and plan MVP
Thirdly, we analyzed all user stories from Technical documentation and prioritized the essential functions of both driver and passenger app for the project’s Minimum Viable Product (MVP). As a rule, we start all sophisticated projects as MVP so our clients can achieve the proof of concept of their business idea.
Step 4. Develop the MVPs back-end
Fourthly, we started to implement user stories and main scenarios for the passenger app, driver app, and admin panel. At this step, we also developed a Subscription website and integrated a payment gateway.
Interesting Features We Implemented
The HYPR application required a reliable and accessible payment processor to handle:
- Subscription fee management
- Ride payments
In addition, we needed a solution that would refund money on the different ride’s stages. Thus, we decided to integrate Stripe because it perfectly met the client’s requirements.
- User-friendly interface
- Merchant account features
- Multiple payment methods
- PCI DDS compliance + AVS, SSL, CCV features
- Flexible API
Google Maps and Google Places
Geolocation was another essential app component, requiring integration of third-party APIs for general map navigation, vehicle monitoring.
- Google Maps for general web mapping and vehicle movement monitoring
- Google Places to streamline the navigation and provide additional information regarding different locations
One of the client’s requirements was to make the app GDPR compliant. This meant that the app should meet strict guidelines for user data management, include transparent data use policy, and guarantee data safety. To make HYPR GDPR compliant, we used the following solutions:
- HTTPS, TLS, SSH for data-in-transit encryption;
- BCryptfor database encryption;
- DDoS protection;
- PCI DSS compliance;
- Activity Logging and Access Management;
- Limited access to the production database at the network level.
Our tech stack
- iOS passenger and driver Apps- Swift
- Admin Dashboard- Sonata and WordPress
- Payment gateway – Stripe API
- Geolocation and maps – Google Maps, Google Places API, Visar Maps
- Use analytics tool – Google Analytics
- Data Center for the environment, disaster recovery and backup site- Telehouse London
- Project Manager
- Business Analyst
- 2 QA engineers
- Front-end developer
- 2 Back-end developers
- 2 iOS developers
We nailed delivery of the MVP of two mobile apps, Admin panel and a website with subscription on time, Matthew presented our project to the Transport of London committee, who approved our applications for the London area. After the MVP launch, we entered the second development phase and integrated other features for the app’s public release. Currently, we continue working on the app, and soon we will release a new app version with more features for both drivers and passengers.
New HYPR’s release will include
- Alternative car suggestions with the same amount of passenger seats
- Driver mode will allow app users to rent a car and drive it themselves
- Convoy mode will enable users to book several cars at once
For us, working on the HYPR project was a better experience than riding all supercars at the same time.