Koolicar, a French startup launched in 2012 with a business model centered around peer-to-peer car rentals, has announced at CES 2018 that it has a new AR-driven app coming to make the process easier than ever. Called Koolicar GO, the app is billed as being a way for users of the service to instantly find vehicles available within their immediate vicinity with no reservation or having to navigate from their location to where a car is. Demonstrations of the app are ongoing for the remainder of CES, from today through Friday. This is also the company's first time attending a CES event, so anybody in the area who is interested is probably going to want to check it out.
As to how the new application will work, that's fairly straightforward. As with many other augmented reality apps on the market, users simply need to open the app and scan the world around them with a phone camera. Any cars in the immediate area that are available to rent through Koolicar will be highlighted with a digital tag. The tag will also specify for how long the car will be available. Approaching the desired Koolicar-enabled vehicle begins the rental process and a "KoolKey" – a digital key used to unlock the car – will appear on the screen. The company says the process is effectively a digitized version of another service they launched five years ago, called "Box," drawing on the idea that there's no need to even meet up with that car's owner, which can be an awkward experience for some users.
According to the company, the application also represents a perfect "synthesis" between augmented smartphone technologies and the growing market for smart cars. That's because services like Koolicar take things far beyond the possibilities presented by ride-sharing firms such as Uber. However, the firm is also careful to be too optimistic and says it will be offering the new features and app to its more active users in advance. Those users will have a unique opportunity to actively provide feedback and help with further improvements before a wider release. Meanwhile, the application is planned for launch in 2018 but the company hasn't provided a specific release date yet as it is still in testing.