Avis Rent a Car System and Motorola today announced the expansion of their Avis Assist navigation service into the Midwest, giving busy travelers the ability to access real-time, turn-by-turn directions wirelessly.
Avis Assist premiers this week in popular business and leisure destinations such as Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis and St. Louis. These cities join New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Orlando and many others in now offering consumers an easy way to get to their next business meeting or leisure destination. With this expansion, the VIAMOTO solution through Avis Assist is now available in more than half of the country's most frequented airports, including three of the world's busiest - Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas -- visited by more than 200 million people in 2002, according to Airports Council International.
Using a combination of GPS, Java and Location-Based Services technology, Motorola's VIAMOTO software gives Avis Assist renters the ability to receive spoken turn-by-turn directions to their destinations on a Motorola mobile handset. Consumers conveniently punch in location information or connect with the call center to provide an Avis Advisor with a destination address or desired point of interest in the area. A route is then calculated and downloaded to the mobile phone from a server.
The server leverages the GPS technology in the phone to pinpoint the exact location of the handset and starts providing turn-by-turn directions, communicated through the handset's speakerphone, as soon as the driver begins driving. Directions are street-specific and repeated often as the Avis consumer drives from point A to point B. If the driver takes a wrong turn, the directions stop and the route is recalculated, ensuring that Avis customers won't get off-track!
"Avis Assist offers our customers a definite advantage over other available GPS products," said Scott Deaver, executive vice president of marketing for Cendant Car Rental Group, the parent company of Avis. "Because it is portable, Avis Assist allows travelers to use the unit in any vehicle they choose to drive, or even take it with them when they leave the car. That makes this a powerful personalized direction service for leisure and business travelers unfamiliar with their surroundings."
"Motorola is dedicated to delivering easy-to-use, innovative technology solutions for today's on-the-go consumers," said Neal Campbell, general manager of location services for Motorola's Personal Communications Sector. "And with the development of VIAMOTO, Motorola continues to lead the way. Location-based services are truly the next frontier when it comes to mobile data solutions that matter most to consumers and we're proud to expand our successful relationship with Avis Rent a Car to give millions more mobile Americans a new way to simplify travel while in and out of the car."
Expanding location based services beyond standard directions, the Motorola VIAMOTO solutions offers users the ability to receive information on local restaurants and schedule a reservation, receive updates on event listings and pinpoint areas of interest, such as the closest ATM or most popular clubs. The service is continuously updated with map data and is integrated with point-of-interest databases to provide users with the most accurate navigation services possible.
The Avis Assist program received excellent consumer feedback and rapid adoption since it first launched as part of a trial program at the Dallas-Fort Worth and Washington Dulles airports earlier this year. The units can be rented for an additional $9.95 per day.