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Vehicles, and customizable products

From: Francois-Paul Servant <francois-paul.servant@orange.fr>
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 2013 03:01:28 +0200
Message-Id: <F7AC5ACB-DE78-4F0B-9B2E-42EC4034E462@orange.fr>
To: public-vocabs@w3.org
Hi,

among the topics under discussions listed on the "WebSchemas/SchemaDotOrgProposals" page of the wiki, there is an item "Vehicles", with the mention "A proposal extending schema.org for describing vehicles is being prepared." I searched this list, but I only found one relevant thread ("Schema for vehicles"):
http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-vocabs/2012May/0096.html

Did I miss something?

If there are some discussions, I could maybe contribute, as I have been working on a closely related subject at Renault, and we have some results to share. Renault publishes indeed structured data that describe its range of new cars. This work has been presented at ESWC 2012 [1] and at LDOW 2013 ([2], slides [3]); to connect to the RDF data, see [4].

The main contribution of this work is a domain-independent proposal for the description of ranges of customizable products (new cars have many optional features, and, this is the tricky point, there are constraints between the features that invalidate some of their combinations: a range of new cars is a "Constraint Satisfaction Problem"). The idea is simply to publish as data the content of the pages produced by the configurator applications that are used to present such ranges to human users. The "Configuration as Linked Data ontology" [5] provides the vocabulary for that. This approach is domain independent: it can be used for cars or for, say, computers. It allows a manufacturer to publish a description of its range using its own terms (an important point, for at least two reasons: it is simple, and features are often unique to a given manufacturer). This description being linked data based, and the complexity of the reasoning required to handle the constraints being hidden from the client, it can easily be crawled by agents such as search engines.

It remains however that some form of shared vocabulary (or vocabulary alignment) is needed if one wants to develop applications that aggregate data from several vendors (eg. range comparators, market places): some shared terms are needed for, say, "Automatic gearbox" or "CO2 emission value" (that may not be necessary for search engines which are very comfortable with just text). Some work has begun on this question, with contributors such as Makolab, a company well aware of semantic web and of the automotive industry.

Hope this is of interest to some of you.

Best Regards,

fps

[1] "Product Customization as Linked Data", ESWC 2012
http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-642-30284-8_47
[2] "Describing Customizable Products on the Web of Data", LDOW 2013
http://events.linkeddata.org/ldow2013/papers/ldow2013-paper-11.pdf 
[3] Slides, LDOW 2013
http://fr.slideshare.net/fpservant/ldow2013 
[4] http://purl.org/configurationontology/quickstart 
[5] http://purl.org/configurationontology
Received on Thursday, 25 July 2013 10:48:05 UTC

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