Avis Budget Begins Test of Connected-Car Tech

Avis Budget Group Inc. has begun a test that will enable all 5,000 vehicles in its rental fleet in Kansas City to communicate with each other and the company.

Customers will be able to handle the entire rental-vehicle process by using a smartphone app. The feature will enable users to book or modify a reservation, extend an existing rental period and lock/unlock the vehicle’s doors.

The cars also will be linked to the internet. Avis says the network will help it manage its fleet, in part by automating such processes as inventory count, mileage monitoring and maintenance scheduling. In addition, the system will share real-time data with the city to help traffic managers develop software that models regional traffic flow.

Avis said in May it intends to have more than 100,000 connected vehicles on the road by the end of 2018. The company is targeting a fully connected global fleet by 2020.