Friday, April 01, 2011

A Great App for Renting a Car

[UPDATE: Oct 10th, 2012]

Since I posted this idea in 2011 I have discovered a startup that is trying to do something similar: SILVERCAR ( I believe Silvercar was founded in early 2012 as its website in April 26th, 2012 looked like this: Since then they have raised $11.5M from CrunchFund, Dave Morin and Others ( Silvercar is the airport car rental experience reimagined for you, the connected business traveler. They put the power back in your hands, enabling you to bypass lines, avoid complexity and frustration, and drive away in a world-class car at a great price ( @SilverCar is based in Austin, Texas. I hope they do great and revolutionize the (airport) car rental industry. Finally something new in that boring industry!... I cannot wait to see it at LAX and NYC.

[ORIGINALLY POSTED: April 1, 2011]


Would love to have an app in my iPhone or iPad that would help me choose the car at my rent-a-car. Imagine if you are on the plane (and it has wi-fi) and you can browse the cars available in your iPad before landing. The need is simple, lets make renting a car much simpler than it is right now. You normally need to stop by the counter to get your car assign. You normally need to get whatever the person at the counter wants to assign you. In the best cases when you have some type of status you walk to the car without stopping at the counter but you don't have any saying to which car is assigned to you.


What we need is a iPhone/iPad/name-your-device App that would allow you to browse the cars available at your rental car company at that moment in a specific location. Needless to say that the customer wants to see pictures of the actual car in the parking spot so you would need to figure that out. Maybe you start with standard photos (inside and outside pics) and later move to a video camera for the outside view. This would help also with the need to check for availability. We will also need a system similar to the ZipCar system that allows you to use your CARD as the key to any vehicle. You would also need a system that confirms what car is in what parking spot to make sure it is available. This can get complicated in location with a lot of traffic. My take on this is simply have (a) a GPS locator in each car (similar to an iPhone) to guarantee the car hasn’t left the lot and (b) a check-in point that matches each car that enters the lot to a parking spot (this can be done when the person at the rent-a-car is receiving the car).


This could probably revolutionize the rental car industry. You can play it as unique proposition from one rental car company or you can develop the technology/system and sell it to all rental cars.