Semasquare is the Startup of the Week 41: Digitalisation of vehicle cockpits


Industry 4.0 & Logistics, IT & ICT

Easy handling, automation of functions and low installation effort – for cockpits in commercial and special vehicles this is desirable, but often not a norm. Our Startup of the Week semasquare GmbH has recognized this gap and developed new approaches to make vehicle cockpits more intuitive and efficient. Today we talked to Moritz Koch, Sales Business Development Manager about their solution.

Hello Moritz! Thanks for taking the time today! Explain to our readers what semasquare does.

We at semasquare offer HMI and software engineering for commercial and special vehicles.

What do your solutions contain?

semasquare GmbH offers expertise on hardware and software up to the cloud. We work in an agile manner and can thus iteratively develop the perfect operating concept for the respective area of application via first mockups using rapid prototyping with customers. After defining the operating concept, we select suitable hardware components together with the customer and develop the software according to his ideas. With our experience in the areas of UI/UX, design decisions are critically discussed to optimize the user experience for the end user.

How does your approach differ from that of other providers?

Previous concepts for operating commercial vehicles often still rely on physical input elements such as buttons and switches that automate vehicle functions only to a limited extent. This makes it difficult to map the complexity of the vehicles. Service providers usually only offer the development of a modern user interface. However, the knowledge required to integrate them into a cloud and thus exploit their full potential is still missing.

So you develop individual concepts and also implement them, right?

That’s right. We offer individual engineering services for commercial vehicle manufacturers. Our goal on the one hand is to make the operation of the vehicles suitably intuitive. On the other hand we want to make the complex tasks manageable. Furthermore, semasquare enables the transfer of the accruing data to servers or the cloud. Thus we help our customers to develop and implement new innovative, data-based business models. A further project, which we adapted to the Covid-19 situation, is a puzzle bot which Escape Rooms or other providers of experiences can use to create and offer individual tours.

Has a new target group developed for you? Or are you still addressing the special vehicle industry?

So far yes. Our previous customers are manufacturers of commercial and special vehicles with complex superstructures from the fields of street sweepers/canal cleaners. In addition, many other applications such as waste collection vehicles, drilling vehicles and fire-fighting vehicles in public road traffic are of interest. Furthermore, commercial vehicles that are not registered for public road traffic, such as construction machines, construction site, forestry and agricultural vehicles are also targeted. Manufacturers of commercial vehicles, users, brokers, rental companies and service providers using commercial vehicles are also interesting customer groups.

You already entered the market. What are your next steps?

Yes, the market entry has already taken place with a pilot project. A second customer is about to place an order. To simplify the entry for these customers, we offered a service for the development of an HMI in the first step.

In addition to cold calling, we use the existing network via the cooperative visibleRuhr, Bochum Wirtschaftsentwicklung, the university and company network ruhrvalley and other friendly companies. Once the pilot projects are completed, we plan to use the experience gained from the projects to develop platforms for HMI and the cloud. The idea is that they will accelerate the processing of further projects. Based on the development, the service should slowly be transferred to products. In the future, the cloud will be used via licenses. This will make the cloud a scalable product. We want to continue to offer services based on the HMI platform. Our intention is to further expand our current partnerships.

We will also work with the Institute for Electric Mobility at Bochum University of Applied Sciences and other partners to promote innovation and progress in the field of electric mobility for commercial vehicles. In addition to the references of the pilot projects, we will thus underpin our innovative strength. We will compensate for the increasing workload by hiring additional full-time employees and working students. Our overriding goal is customer diversification. In this way we want to ensure that one customer accounts for a maximum of 30% of total sales.

Moritz, thank you very much for the exciting interview! We wish you continued success with your goals. We hope to hear a lot more from you.

If you want to learn more about semasquare, please have a look at the corresponding Innoloft profile.