Avis Budget Group, is launching its first-ever “Mobility Lab” that serves as a test bed for fully connected vehicles and operations.
The facility in Kansas City, Missouri, comprises more than 20 Avis Car Rental locations, including Kansas City International Airport and Nebraska’s Eppley Airfield and Lincoln Airport, and features a fleet of 5,000 connected cars. This connectivity allows for seamless communication with the Company’s fleet management platform and the Avis mobile app. The Mobility Lab also positions the Company to collaborate with municipalities around the globe as they move forward with Smart City initiatives.
“Our Mobility Lab in the greater Kansas City area extends our next-generation mobility initiatives,” said Larry De Shon, president and chief executive officer, Avis Budget Group. “The steps we’re taking with connected car and smart technologies will increase customer satisfaction as well as reduce operational costs in the near term, while also preparing us to meet the evolving needs of consumers, entrepreneurs, corporations and governments, like the City of Kansas City, a recognized global leader for its Smart City advancements.”
Avis Budget Group says the Mobility Lab “underscores the Company’s commitment to drive innovation to enhance the customer experience across their entire journey”. It says Avis customers renting from airport and off-airport locations in the Kansas City area can control the entire rental experience right from their smart phones. This includes making, changing or managing their reservation, extending their rental and locking and unlocking the car’s doors.
“Leveraging connected car capabilities, the Mobility Lab will deliver operational efficiencies by providing real-time inventory counts, mileage management and automated maintenance notification,” the company says in a statement. “This data will facilitate the enhancement and optimisation of the Company’s fleet management capabilities and provide scalable benefits as the Company increases its number of connected cars moving forward.”
From a city perspective, connected fleet data can add depth and accuracy to street condition data and traffic volume data. “Kansas City has a fully integrated suite of smart city initiatives in our community that make it a better place for our citizens and visitors. Partnering with Avis Budget Group allows us to make that experience even more efficient and responsive to the needs of 21st Century Kansas Citians and our visitors,” said Mayor Sly James.
In May, Avis Budget Group announced a transformation of its US fleet which would result in 50,000 more vehicles becoming fully connected cars by early 2018; bringing the total number of connected cars to more than 100,000. The Company has also committed to operating a fully connected global fleet by 2020.