Hanover, Germany, December 12, 2017
Technology company Continental has developed a new method of accessing rental cars by using smartphones as car keys. The technology is already deployed in Avis car rental stations in the United States. Usually, people at airports or train stations have to approach a rental car desk to pick up the car, but thanks to Continental’s solution this method will soon be outdated, said the company in a statement
Customers at 20 Avis car rental stations in the US can now experience how seamlessly easy it can be to get on the road as soon as they arrive.
“Digital car keys are, in the truest sense of the word, a way for us to open the door to new customers and sales in the field of mobility services,” explains Dr Elmar Degenhart, CEO, Continental, ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Continental plans to double its sales in mobility services to more than a billion euros by 2020, he added. This includes solutions ranging from tyre services and fleet management to software as a standalone product.
Customers can now use digital keys on their smartphones to access AVIS’s rental car test fleet in Kansas City, USA, which will initially consist of 1,000 vehicles. The car is opened and started using an app.
“This partnership with the Avis Budget Group demonstrates the growing demand for innovative solutions for seamless mobility services. Connecting mobility systems is one of our strong and growing areas of expertise. Many pressing challenges can be solved better in this way. For example, smoother traffic flow in cities will result in lower emissions, early warnings via the internet from vehicles ahead will reduce the number of collisions on the road, and the interconnection of multiple transport systems down to the last mile will help to combat stress when driving,” Degenhart explains.
Back in 2015, Continental established a separate business unit for this type of product, called Intelligent Transportation Systems, based in San Jose, California. This is where global activities with cities and fleet customers are driven forward. There are additional locations in Germany, France, Japan, Shanghai, and Singapore. The technology for the AVIS project was developed across several different Continental locations: The access electronics for the doors come from Regensburg, Germany, while the app itself comes from the development center in San Jose, California, USA. A computer centre in the US ensures secure delivery of the keys.
AVIS Budget Group and Continental will demonstrate the new system live during the CES in Las Vegas from January 9 through 12, 2018.