The car hire firm Avis Budget Group has announced it has surpassed the 100,000 connected car threshold globally, saying it is a milestone that promises to further improve the traveller experience, increase operational efficiencies for the Company, and benefit smart city planning.
In a statement to the Nasdaw it says the growing presence of connected cars across the Avis Budget Group fleet, combined with the Avis mobile app, means more travellers can change or upgrade their vehicle in real-time right from the lot, locate their vehicle and, in the future, personalise geolocation-based travel and tourism push notifications sent to customers.
“Connected cars allow Avis customers to manage their entire rental through our app, including locking and unlocking car doors via smartphone. We see a future in which connected cars will know preferred seat positon, car temperature, radio presets and more,” said Arthur Orduña, chief innovation officer of Avis Budget Group. “An example of this is in our Mobility Lab in Kansas City, which aims to enhance travelers’ experiences through our connected cars. If a traveler’s phone shows they are interested in baseball, the customer may receive a push notification recommending the city’s acclaimed Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.”
In the two years since the Avis mobile app’s launch, usage has grown to more than 1.5 million transactions by more than 400,000 unique customers and has increased customer satisfaction ratings by 20 percent. The company says the redesigned experience through the app has also allowed travellers to:
- choose a car that better meets their personal preferences
- return their vehicle, saving time to help them catch their flight home or to their next meeting
- eliminate stress by finding their way to the rental facility in an unfamiliar airport
- locate a missing receipt or details on a past rental, avoiding an unnecessary call
- see how long before our next courtesy shuttle arrives
- find nearby fuel or parking services to assist in making their travel easier, and
- find their car faster in new surroundings
In addition, the company says the connected fleet offers Avis Budget Group significant opportunity to streamline operations and reduce costs, including real-time inventory counts, mileage management and automated maintenance notification. Avis Budget adds that having a fleet of connected cars enables more sophisticated tracking of idle vehicles, and automated processing of cars ready to rent.
It adds that, when it comes to smart cities, for those like Kansas City who choose to partner with Avis Budget Group, this milestone “also means access to connected car data that has been stripped of any identifiable traveler personal information—this could inform smart city planning, like road condition and traffic volume data”.
“If one of our vehicles hits a pothole on a given route, it’s possible that we map this data based on the car’s geolocation and create a feedback loop with our city partners,” added Orduña. “Connected cars have the potential to be eyes and ears on the ground for city planners seeking data that could ultimately improve our communities.”