Firstech, maker of Compustar and DroneMobile, announced a new feature for the Drone KL1 Keylocker.
The KeyLocker is a hardware case that fits into most vehicle compartments and has a sliding door mechanism for storing any type of vehicle key. The key is protected by sensors in and around the vehicle. The sensors can only be disarmed using the DroneMobile app, which works over LTE from unlimited range. If a vehicle uses a “smart” key with push-to-start capabilities, KeyLocker can enable and disable the detection of that key to control access to the car.
To date KeyLocker, which shipped last month, was aimed at families who wanted to share among members and fleets. But Thursday, Firstech announced a new app to be released in April that will allow KeyLocker owners to rent their vehicle to others by simply sending an email to the renter.
The personal car rental market is growing. Two leading websites that bring renters and owners together such as Turo or Getaround are valued at $2.1 and $1.5 billion respectively, said Firstech’s Justin Lee. Now users of those sites can also use KeyLocker and the DroneMobile app so they don’t have to meet the renter in person and can easily manage the rental.
Once the renter accepts the DroneMobile invitation they can instantly see the vehicle’s parking spot and then enter and drive the car using only their smartphone. Car owners receive alerts notifying them of successful pickup and drop-off. (During the rental, owners cannot track or control the vehicle.)
KeyLocker includes a windshield-mounted touchpad as backup in the event of poor cellular coverage or dead smartphone battery.
All car sharing and key management features will be included for all DroneMobile Premium subscribers, with plans as low as $5.99/month. They KeyLocker is available at $159.99.