Info-tech

Your smartphone will now be the key of your rental car

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on November 15, 2016

Self-drive car firm Myles launches new app

Your phone can be even more powerful than you think. Apart from acting as a computer, a camera, a Dictaphone, etc, your humble smartphone is about to become your car key as well. Starting this week, self-drive car company Myles is launching a new app that will turn your phone into a key for the self-drive car you have ordered.

This is how it works. You request a self-drive car through the app. It will direct you to the nearest parking lot with car details. Once you locate the car, you press the unlock button within the app and the car is unlocked and ready for your drive.

The car will have a physical key inside to start ignition and as soon as you crank that, your billing starts. When you decide to drop the car, you again take it to a nearby parking lot and leave the car there with the key inside. Your bill will automatically be generated based on the time and distance you used the car for.

Scaling up

The Delhi-based start-up, which currently runs 1,200 cars in over 250 locations in the country, believes this is the best way to scale its operations to an ambitious 50,000 cars within the next four years without the need to open hundreds of outlets and hiring thousands of people to man them.

“We want to scale our operations to 5,000 locations from a mere 250 right now in the next four years, and to achieve that we need to move to key-less system and build a model where these locations can be managed without the need for a single person manning these locations,” Rajiv Vij, CEO and founder of Carzonrent, the parent company of Myles, told BusinessLine.

This week, pilots of this scheme will begin in New Delhi and Bengaluru. It will then be extended to Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai. The cars will be initially parked near popular housing societies and shopping malls.

Myles is the fastest-growing business for Carzonrent, which also runs a radio-taxi business called EasyCars, similar to Ola and Uber, apart from offering corporate car rental service.

By 2020, Vij expects the Myles business to generate a revenue of ₹2,800-3,000 crore through a fleet of 50,000 cars. “Myles is currently growing at 20 per cent every month. Our revenue right now is about ₹5 crore a month,” Vij said.

The firm is also looking to raise ₹150-200 crore to invest in technology and in growing the business. Instead of buying cars, the company has moved to a franchisee model wherein individuals could buy a car and lease out to Myles, thereby cutting down the need for large investments to scale up.

“We’ve launched a Myles business associate programme wherein individuals can invest in cars and put them into our system. About 400 people have already inducted their cars, while 5,000 more have expressed interest.” Vij believes that by making the car-rental process easy with technologies such as key-less entry, people would be inclined towards renting a car instead of buying it and using it only for a couple of hours a day.

Published on November 15, 2016
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