Automated Car Rentals

Taking a small break from studying, a story concerning automated car rentals by the BBC.

People who want to have access to the cars for a short while, are pre-approved, and given an RFID tag. Then when people need them, they can go online, and book the car usage, apparently at next-to-no notice. They can then use the RFID tag, and the car, using cell towers, to determine how far the car has travelled, and where it is.

Sounds like an interesting idea for people who only want to use cars every so often, although it seems like in the past, people would likely simply ask one of their neighbours if they could borrow their car for a little bit. I wonder if insurance has made that more of an impossibility. I also wonder if they charge a variable amount depending on the driving record or demographics of the person renting the car. Possibly because I am a high risk young male, but it has always seemed like a bizarre form of legal discrimination to be able to charge different amounts for mandatory insurance simply for being a member of a particular demographic.

Slightly more on topic, I’ve heard about similar, although slightly less low tech, ideas for renting bicycles, where people can use shared bicycles which are locked in various places, and then drop them off. Probably better for the environment for short haul trips, although it can be tough to carry a few bags of groceries on a bicycle, particularly in the winter…

2 Responses to “Automated Car Rentals”

  1. Liam says:

    Does WordPress know about daylight savings time?

  2. sieber says:

    Before you do this, you have to have numerous people in a community who are not wedded to the idea of owning their own cars. (That is, they woudn’t think it was some socialist scheme.) Montreal at least has the social infrastructure set up with a company called communauto (fr and eng). You can pay by the month, mile or year and get a car whenever you want from any number of parking lots in the city.