Wheelz: A Car-Sharing Platform that Leverages Your Social Network

November 14, 2011 Pivotal Labs

Use GPS to locate available cars near you

The advantages to having a car on campus are numerous: beer store runs, trips to the movies, and of course the occasional drive to class, right? But with gas prices on the rise, your everyday activities begin to add up.

Xtreme Labs has collaborated with Wheelz to develop a car sharing platform and an iPhone app to meet the needs of campus communities. The concept behind the company is to put your car up for use by other people in your social network while you are at work, or in class. In return you get some extra spending money in your pocket for doing absolutely nothing!

What’s nice about Wheelz is that they do all the legwork for you, making lending or renting a car as easy as possible. For auto owners, after a simple sign-up and registration of your car on the website, a Wheelz representative will come and install a DriveBox in your car for free. The DriveBox is a proprietary piece of hardware that allows other Wheelz members to unlock the car using the Xtreme Labs designed iPhone app, or a Wheelz card. A second piece of hardware called the Key Box is placed in the glove box and used as a place to store the keys if the car owner does not have time to meet up! Thanks to the DriveBox, your car can come and go without any further inconvenience to you! Car owners can set an hourly, daily, or even weekly rates on their car; with current prices ranging from $6.50- $12.00/ hour depending on the automobile. The iPhone app makes it convenient for car owners to manage the various reservations associated with their car.

Use GPS to locate available cars near you

Now if you are a driver looking for a car, all you have to do install the app onto your phone and start searching for vehicles. Once you sign up with a valid drivers license, you can book reservations right from your mobile phone. The iPhone app makes it convenient for drivers to manage their upcoming and current reservations. Once the reservation kicks-in, drivers can use the iPhone app to locate the reserved car with the interactive map and also the honk feature. And if you realize you need the car a few more minutes? No problem! Simply extend the reservation right from your iPhone app.

I’ll bet you’re thinking: “Why would I ever trust a stranger with my car, what if they get in an accident?” So were we. Introducing the One Million Dollar Insurance Policy! What this means is that in no way is your personal automobile insurance affected if an accident were to occur! Also, since Wheelz operates in closed networks, you can use social integration to get to know the person using your car!

What we like about Wheelz is that they have revolutionized your typical car-sharing program by leveraging social networks. By containing the car-sharing program to a smaller, more trusted network; Wheelz can learn by trial how to adapt their business model to a larger consumer base. Wheelz has already started to make waves on Stanford campus with students heralding their innovation: “You guys are one of the coolest companies I’ve heard of in a while. It’s exciting to be one of the first members!” says a Biology Undergrad.

Currently the Wheelz campus car-sharing program is limited to the members of the Stanford community, but expansion to bigger markets is the next step. Keep an eye on their website at www.wheelz.com for updates, and get the iPhone app here!

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