Car Sharing Technology Solutions for Corporate, Campus and Residential Schemes
Technically, car-sharing has been around since since the 1950s but in practice it's really only in the last 20 years that it's come of age. The term itself is somewhat misleading - a better way to think of it is that it's actually a variant of car-rental - except you rent the car for much shorter periods (often by the hour) and you don't have pick it up/drop it off at airports. Let's take a look at some of the flavours of car-sharing, why it's becoming increasingly attractive as a mode of transportation. We'll also look at the the car-sharing technologies and solutions that power the growing industry.
How does it work
According to statistics, your car is idle (parked!) for about 96% of the time. And many families have 2 cars but are reluctant to part with one of them as at different stages, both may be needed. Of course, both cars have to be taxed, insured, fuelled and maintained. That's a big cost for an asset that is sitting idle 96% of the time - not to mention continuously depreciating!
So what it you could get rid of one of the cars - or not buy the second one - in a way that didn't compromise your transport needs? Well, you can - and here's where car-sharing comes into its own. In a typical scheme, you sign up/register - generally through an app on your mobile device. You provide some basic personal details (driving license, credit card details), and once you've been approved by the car-sharing operation (usually within 24 hours), you can start to book that car for today - or for some appointment next week. Need to visit a friend or relative that's out of town, or go to Ikea, or take the kids to the beach? All possible with a bit of planning. Fuel, Insurance, car tax are all included and you don't have to worry about any maintenance costs. You pay a reasonable fee, generally by the hour and by the distance travelled. In some car-sharing schemes, you pick the car up and drop it off to the same location. The bigger car-sharing companies will have these 'bases' scattered all of the city. Some of the more advanced schemes allow you to pick up the car in one location - and drop it off at another.
These days setting up a car-sharing operation is pretty straightforward. The car-share operator (CSO) needs a fleet of cars (often leased), some in-car telematics hardware and a booking/reservation system. On the customer side, the car-sharing technology is all about the mobile device. You download your app and sign-up as described above.
Here in GTS we have all of car-sharing technology and solutions required to get get an operator up and running very quickly. Share.car is our state-of-the-art booking system, and we work closely with our partners on the in-vehicle hardware side of things (Invers and Convadis). When you make a reservation on your mobile phone - the details are sent to the hardware device installed in the car. When you then go to pick up your car, it can be unlocked via your mobile. The hardware device in the car will check that the reservation is valid, and off you go.
Types of car-sharing
Residential car-sharing is a car-sharing scheme where a small pool/fleet of cars is made available exclusively to the residents of an apartment block/complex. Via the car-sharing app, you book your car very similar to how you would with a traditional car-sharing scheme - although rates/fess are often discounted
Corporate car-sharing is where companies have a shared fleet of cars that employees use instead of each employee having their own one. For examples, sales people often have a dedicated car - in a corporate car-sharing scheme, they would book the car as they would book a meeting room. This has significant cost saving benefits to companies.
Campus car-sharing is where students on university campuses have access to a car-sharing scheme.