USA: Vodafone, in conjunction with BMW i, MINI and Sixt, has been announced the winner of the ‘Best Mobile Product or Service for Automotive’ category at the Global Mobile Awards 2013 at Mobile World Congress. DriveNow, premium car sharing service where vehicles communicate their location via an embedded telematics unit, has been recognised for its use of mobile connectivity in the rapidly converging mobile and automotive space.
DriveNow is based on mobile technology enabling cars to be rented from and dropped off anywhere within the area of business. Vehicles can be instantly accessed by registered members or booked in advance using a smartphone application.
To use the service, the consumer simply signs up online and receives a DriveNow ID (RFID). He or she can then either pick up a car on the street or reserve via a smartphone app, internet or call centre. A simple app communicates with DriveNow’s backend IT system via BMW’s telematic platform ConnectedDrive to authenticate the user and confirm a booking. The system will tell the user the location of the nearest car, which is done via an embedded telematics unit with a Vodafone M2M SIM. The consumer can open the door with his DriveNow ID, enter a 4 digit pin and then start the motor with the start button. No physical car key is involved.
Erik Brenneis, Director of M2M, Vodafone, said: “We are honoured to have been given this award and really pleased that the GSMA is as excited about this service as we are. DriveNow already has over 88,000 users and a fleet of 1,500 cars across Germany and the US. The automotive industry can benefit hugely from this kind of mobile technology. By connecting cars to the internet, manufacturers, dealers, insurers and service providers can transform the products and services they offer. This will help to drive down operating costs, comply with new regulation, improve the user experience and generate revenue streams in new, innovative ways.”