NZ’s First Rental Car App Making Life Easier

teens-enjoying-road-trip-dp

Article Source PRnewswire

A leading rental car company Go Rentals has produced a New Zealand first mobile app to help make life easier for its customers.

It is the first app of its kind for New Zealand car rental customers to help them manage their rental experience.

GO Rentals undertook the strategy and planning and brought in mobile development and visual design experts to build the app. It took 12 months to develop including extensive research and development.

James Dalglish, Go Rentals general manager, says more and more of their customers were using their mobile phones to do business with them.

“We saw a golden opportunity to streamline the customer experience via mobile tech. Mobile apps for car rental are not a new thing but we believe we’ve got some unique functionality in ours,” Dalglish says.

“Customers can create and manage a user profile including their driver licence and credit card details which reduces the number of steps required to book and pick up a car.

“When they arrive to pick up their vehicle, customers are still required to show their licence and credit card, sign a contract and check over vehicle condition. But they can use the app to request our courtesy airport shuttles at the touch of a button and get a real time eta. They can also use the app to find their way back to our depots to return vehicles, which saves a lot of time and stress.”

“It’s our mission to become the world’s most loved car rental company and this app helps reach that goal. It is an example of how we are leading the way in using technology to make life easier for customers.”

GO Rentals has six branches nationwide and will have a fleet of more than 2500 cars this summer.

Article Source PRnewswire

GM Invests in Chinese Startup Focused on Car Rental Technology

Motor City Mobility

Article Source Fortune

General Motors has invested in a Chinese technology company that has built a service for arranging short-term car rentals, part of a broader push by the automaker to expand beyond its roots.

General Motors said Tuesday it has invested an undisclosed amount in Yi Wei Xing Technology “as another move in exploring personal mobility in China.” Yi Wei Xing is the company behind Feezu, a service that can be used by traditional car rental companies to rent cars by the hour or in even smaller increments. Continue reading

How to Save Money on Car Rentals

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Article Source NYTimes

Why is it that a car rental might cost you as much as $300 one weekend and just $50 the following one with the same company? Such price variations are common in the car rental industry, according to Gary Leff, the founder of the travel deals site viewfromthewing.com. “Car rental prices constantly go up and down in big leaps,” he said.

Here, he shares his tips for getting the better end of the bargain: Continue reading

New Anti-Crash Technology Could Reduce Crashes Involving Foreign Drivers

tesla car hire

Article Source stuff.co.nz

OPINION: The problem of foreign drivers straying on to the wrong side of the road and killing or injuring other motorists is a vexed one.

Tourism is now our biggest income earner and our economy needs the dollars, but that can come at a high price.

We saw frustration with overseas drivers boil over last summer when frustrated locals snatched the keys off foreign drivers and created the sort of headlines that give tourism bosses sleepless nights.

Apart from trying to warn and educate foreign drivers, the car rental industry has struggled to come up with any solutions.

The answer may be sitting with an Israeli company that is looking to introduce their anti-crash shield equipment here soon.

Elad Serfaty, vice president of sales for Mobileye, told me on a recent visit to the Israeli companies offices in Jerusalem that installing their collision avoidance system in New Zealand rental cars will reduce the rate of accidents involving overseas tourists by 50 percent.

The system uses a software algorithm which processes the information from a single forward facing camera that sits just behind a vehicle’s rear view mirror to collect data and identify hot spots for accidents.

Serfaty says Mobileye is in talks with a New Zealand-based rental car company and a bus company, and hopes to sign deals this year.

“We can save pedestrians and cyclists from being killed,” he says.

Today there are nearly 13 million vehicles fitted with its equipment from 25 different car manufacturers, including BMW, Audi, GM, VW and Nissan.

In Israel, car owners with collision avoidance systems in their cars are filing 45 percent fewer claims and now receive a 15 percent discount on their insurance premiums.

“This could kill some insurance companies” says Serfaty.

Mobileye, along with Google and Apple, is also at the forefront of the race to produce driverless cars, and was recently visited by a New Zealand trade mission to Israel led by Spark chief executive Simon Moutter.

interior tesla

Worldwide, 1.5 million die in car accidents annually, while more than 8000 have died on New Zealand roads in the past two decades.

The Israeli company says the cost of car crashes could be as high as two percent of their GDP, and they believe there will be a major economic transformation as driverless cars are phased in over the next 20 to 30 years.

“Autonomous or driverless cars will change whole economies,” says Serfaty.

“At the moment our utilisation of cars is about 8 percent. Imagine if you could take the car to work then send it home for someone else to use.”

The original timeframe for autonomous cars was 2035 but the timetable got reset when Google entered the game.

“Google has stimulated the race but the big carmakers are determined to defend their market share. BMW has committed to 2021.”

Serfaty says Google is aiming for an “all at once” solution but he thinks the traditional automakers will win the day with “evolution not revolution”.

“We see it being a step by step process. First hands-off driving, then eyes off and finally mind off “.

The race to build autonomous cars hit a serious speed bump a few months ago.

In California, a Tesla equipped with a Mobileye system and a radar system crashed into semi-trailer, killing the driver. It was reported that the driver was watching a Harry Potter movie at the time.

After the crash, Tesla parted company with Mobileye.

Tesla founder Elon Musk chief executive said: “Mobileye’s ability to evolve its technology is unfortunately negatively affected by having to support hundreds of models from legacy auto companies.”

And Tesla is now being investigated by the US road safety watchdog after another one of its cars, believed to have been on auto pilot crashed in Montana in July.

“The systems still have limitations and drivers should be warned about that…..we are not yet at the point where you can watch a movie instead of the road.”

One of the major issues confronting the transport planners in the future will be how driverless cars mix with cars driven by humans.

“The computer driven car will stick to the rules but it will have to learn how to react to human driven cars breaking the rules. Our long term goal is to imitate the human brain. ”

“Accidents will still happen, they won’t disappear but there will be a lot less of them.”

One answer of course is to have areas where there are only autonomous cars and no vehicles driven by humans.

Serfaty predicts that Germany will be the first country to make a major move in this direction.

California and Israel have trial areas and Auckland mayoral candidate, and Mobileye’s Elad Serfaty would like to see New Zealand become a test bed for the new technology.

“Autonomous vehicles are coming, there is no stopping this now, and it’s happening much faster than most people think.”

Article Source stuff.co.nz

Men Modify Rental Car with Home-Made ‘Snorkel’, Take Off-Road Near Queenstown

snorkel car

Article Source Stuff.co.nz

A rental car with home-made modifications, including a “snorkel” made from downpipe, has been pink-stickered by police after being driven off-road.

The driver was issued with an infringement notice and ordered not to drive the car by police at Queenstown Airport on Wednesday.

Constable Matt Hargreaves said four men rented the car, took the bonnet off and added a “snorkel”, before taking the car on an off-road joyride around the hills of Arrowtown. Continue reading