Verizon's Auto Share will let you rent (or rent out) any car with your iPhone | Cult of Mac

Verizon’s Auto Share will let you rent (or rent out) any car with your iPhone



Available in many major cities, Zipcar is this wonderful service that allows you to rent a car by the hour with your smartphone. In my neighborhood, there are half-a-dozen Zipcars parked, just waiting to be scooped up for a quick Ikea run or jaunt to the grocery store. It makes owning a car largely superfluous, at least if you live in a city with good public transportation.

But even though I live in an area with a lot of Zipcars, it’s still hard to find one that is unused on a busy Saturday or Sunday afternoon. But now Verizon has a plan on how to compete with Zipcar, and it’s a doozy: they’re going to allow anyone turn their own car into a Zipcar, rentable by iPhone or other smartphones.

Here’s how it works, according to VentureBeat:

Auto Share, which is being shown this week at the ITS World Congress in Detroit, allows a smartphone app to scan a QR code on a car’s windshield and capture the vehicle’s unique ID number. Once validated, the smartphone user remotely receives the capability to unlock and start the compatible vehicle. A key fob for operating the vehicle will be stored inside. Auto Share will be available by the end of this year, and promotional offers and expansion into ride-sharing are in Verizon’s plans.

I think it’s a killer idea. There are a lot of people in cities who own cars that don’t get a lot of use. This is a way to make them work both for their owners and for their communities, while cutting down on the number of excess cars on the road.

Sounds like a win to me. I wonder, though, if Zipcar — which already has this sort of infrastructure in place — will beat Verizon to the punch.

Source: VentureBeat


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