Avis Budget Group said it now has more than 100,000 connected cars in its global fleet.
“Connected cars allow Avis customers to manage their entire rental through our app, including locking and unlocking car doors via smartphone,” said Arthur Orduña, chief innovation officer of Avis Budget Group. “We see a future in which connected cars will know preferred seat position, car temperature, radio presets and more. 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.”
Since Avis launched its mobile app two years ago, customer satisfaction ratings are up 20 percent, according to the company. The app allows travelers 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 the next courtesy shuttle arrives
- Find nearby fuel or parking services to assist in making their travel easier
- Find their car faster in new surroundings
The connected fleet offers Avis Budget Group a significant opportunity to streamline operations and reduce costs, according to the company. This includes real-time inventory counts, mileage management and automated maintenance notification. Having a fleet of connected cars enables more sophisticated tracking of idle vehicles, and automated processing of cars ready to rent.
“Connectivity allows us to employ more dynamic planning and makes our inventory process that much more effective,” added Orduña.
The connected fleet also has the potential to inform planning of “smart cities,” the company said. When cities such as Kansas City choose to partners with Avis Budget Group, it gives them access to connected-car data that’s been stripped of any identifiable traveler personal information.
“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,” Orduña said. “Connected cars have the potential to be eyes and ears on the ground for city planners seeking data that could ultimately improve our communities.”