RelayRids and OnStar, from General Motors (GM), have teamed up to offer a new way of car sharing. Now OnStar subscribers can rent out their vehicles through the car sharing network. This has made the car sharing company the first third-party developer to integrate with the proprietary application programme interface (API), which will be available to other developers in the next couple of months.
The deal will leverage the GM system’s connectivity, which can be activated in every vehicle. This will allow car owners to earn a potential hundreds of dollars every month, offsetting the cost of their vehicle ownership. It also means RelayRides members will be able to unlock reserved OnStar-enabled vehicles just by using their smartphones.
The connectivity solution that OnStar offers gives RelayRides members more security, accessibility and reliability. Individuals who don’t want to own a car can conveniently access reliable and affordable transportation via a Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC or Buick vehicle. The owners of these vehicles will be able to rent them out, effectively turning their idle cars into a source of income without the hassle of installing expensive hardware or meeting a renter to give them a set of keys.
Through the proprietary API, developers at RelayRides were given access to key vehicle-centric features – like remote door locks and unlocks, as well as location. This means members can unlock the doors from their smartphones or by replying to a text message. The network’s marketplace members can earn hundreds of dollars a month from their vehicles, depending on the availability and location of their car. Owners who don’t have OnStar-enabled vehicles can still rent them out through the marketplace by exchanging keys with the renter or by reactivating their OnStar subscription.
OnStar services are enabled by the most powerful automotive cloud platform in today’s market – the Advanced Telematics Operating Management System (ATOMS). This system connects around six million OnStar customers around the world. RelayRides launched two years ago in Boston, pioneering peer-to-peer car sharing. Since then, it has launched nationwide, becoming the first service to do so – offering a $1 million insurance policy for owners during the rental and $300,000 in cover for the renters. Meanwhile, studies have shown that every shared vehicle is equal to taking 13 cars off the road, resulting in less pollution and congestion.
RelayRides founder and chief community officer Shelby Clark says using OnStar’s API to access GM cars empowers them to make car sharing even more convenient and safer. The sheer number of cars eligible for the scheme allows them to significantly expand throughout the US and introduce the community, economic and environmental benefits of car sharing to other regions of the country that they have been unable to serve so far, he added.
OnStar vice president of strategy and new businesses development Nick Pudar says, through OnStar, GM and RelayRides have partnered to create a completely new mobility solution for motorists in the US who are interested in more collaborative, sustainable and affordable vehicle options. Their exclusive relationship provides an exciting new choice: the first cars to run on collaborative consumption, he added.
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