Silvercar plans to rent out the silver 2013 Audi A4 and use mobile technologies to take the hassle out of the rental process.
We’ve seen plenty of car-rental innovations over the years, including FlightCar, which rents out vehicles left in airport parking lots. More recently, however, we came across Silvercar. In a nutshell, the Texas-based company plans to rent out just a single color, make and model of car – the silver 2013 Audi A4 – and use mobile technologies to take the hassle out of the rental process. Now gearing up for an end-of-year launch, Silvercar’s goal is to “reinvent the airport car rental experience by addressing critical friction points with advances in Web, wireless, mobile and vehicle technologies,” in the company’s own words. What that translates into is not just removing the variability in the car models offered – focusing exclusively instead on the premium-minded 2013 Audi A4 in silver – but also basing its service on streamlined operations and a seamless smartphone user interface. No check-in lines or traditional counters will exist at Silvercar locations. Rather, a Silvercar app will serve as a booking platform and manage personalized vehicle settings and preferences via a cloud-based profile for each customer. Those using the service will select and unlock their Silvercar at their travel destination by scanning the vehicle with their smartphone. Then, preferences previously stored in the customer’s profile – reportedly including not just payment and contact details but also favorite satellite radio stations and hotel locations, for example – will automatically push to Audi’s in-dash multimedia interface. “Ultimately, this ever-growing set of preferences and customizations means Silvercar’s Audi A4 becomes the traveler’s own vehicle, whenever and wherever they drive it,” the company explains. Costs, meanwhile, will be comparable to those of standard or full-size cars from other rental companies, it says. Before launching Silvercar, company CEO Luke Schneider was most recently CTO for Zipcar, which we’ve covered on numerous occasions before. Launch dates and locations will be announced soon, the company says. Mobile and auto-minded entrepreneurs: one to get in on? Spotted by: Raymond Kollau