- Test fleet in Kansas City, U.S.A., offers use of rental cars with digital key
- New mobility service based on software and hardware from Continental
- Continental CEO Dr. Degenhart: “A way to open the door to new customers and sales in the field of seamless mobility services”
Hanover, Germany, Kansas (U.S.A.), December 12, 2017. Usually when you arrive at the airport or train station you first have to go to the rental car desk before you can pick up the car – but for technology company Continental, this is an outdated way of getting to your rental vehicle. The solution: using smartphones as car keys. Thanks to Continental, customers at 20 AVIS car rental stations in the U.S.A. can now experience how seamlessly easy it can be to get on the road as soon as you 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 Continental CEO Dr. Elmar Degenhart 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, says Degenhart. This includes solutions ranging from tire 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, U.S.A., 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, U.S.A. A computer center in the U.S.A. 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.