The concept of auto-sharing, where people get to share vehicles using an app and their smartphone, is about to get a big boost from the world’s largest automaker.
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has just announced that they have developed a Smart Key Box (SKB) that can be plugged into a vehicle and stored in the dashboard with any modification whatsoever.
The SKB is a device that will make way for a ‘safer and more secure way of lending and renting cars.’
Using a smartphone application, a car-sharing user will receive code to access the SKB from the vehicle owner. With the smartphone’s Bluetooth connection and the correct code, the user may now unlock the vehicle, start the engine and begin the trip as per the car-sharing or rental agreement.
The time and period of usage is set by the vehicle owner and managed by the Toyota Smart Center (TSC).
TMC is set to test the SKB in a pilot program with U.S. car-sharing company Getaround in order to ‘explore the benefits and convenience of the SKB in car sharing.’
The Japanese automaker aims to create a new business model to expand its mobility services.
"As a mobility service platform provider, by collaborating with various companies and services, we would like to help create a new mobility society in order to offer safer and more convenient mobility to our customers,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, President of Toyota's in-house Connected Company.
"Our goal at Getaround has always been to empower people to car-share everywhere. Integrating our experience and purpose-built car-sharing technology with Toyota's activities across mobility services opens up new opportunities to Toyota customers and the rapidly growing car-sharing market," said Sam Zaid, Getaround's Founder and CEO.