Toyota partners with Getaround to pilot smartphone-enabled car-sharing serviceBy Shawn Knight
Toyota has become the latest automaker to hop aboard the car-sharing bandwagon courtesy of a partnership with peer-to-peer car-sharing service provider Getaround.
From January 2017, Toyota will be testing its car-sharing service in San Francisco through the use of a device called the Smart Key Box. The gadget can be installed on a vehicle's dashboard without any significant modifications necessary.
Those who wish to rent your vehicle can do so through an app and will be send an unlock code which, thanks to Bluetooth technology, can unlock and start the vehicle. Initially, the service will only be compatible with select Lexus and Prius models.
Getaround chief executive Sam Zaid said they're excited to work with Toyota on this integration and broader partnership, adding that they see it as validation that the future of mobility is shared, connected and sustainable.
For someone like me that doesn't live in a densely populated area like San Francisco or New York City, the idea of car sharing is admittedly a bit foreign. Sure, it'd be nice to make some extra money from my vehicle versus having it sit in the driveway unused, but do you really want a stranger taking your car out for a spin?
In addition to the minor annoyances like seat adjustments and mirror positions being changed, the additional wear and tear would seemingly weigh heavy on my mind and reduce the life of the vehicle. What's more, I'd have to worry about someone pocketing my spare change, rummaging through the glove box to see what can be stolen, tracking mud in or even cranking the stereo too much and blowing out the speakers.
Then again, I was pessimistic about services like Uber...