Beginning on Tuesday, car owners who subscribe to GM's OnStar system will be able to rent their vehicles out to other drivers. The service was made possible by a deal struck last October between GM and car sharing start-up RelayRides.
GM's OnStar system makes use of satellite-connected on-board services, but its capabilities have up till now been used mostly to call for assistance in case of emergency. RelayRides says it is the first third party to make use of OnStar's API, and GM has already announced plans to open its API to additional developers as well.
Under this new partnership, RelayRides members can use the OnStar system to reserve a car and lock and unlock the door via a mobile app. Car owners can set prices for others to rent their cars. OnStar service costs roughly $200 to $300 per year, but RelayRides says car owners can earn hundreds of dollars per month, depending on where their car is parked. Check out the graphic below to see how the system works.
Peer-to-peer services like RelayRides, Getaround, and Wheelz are considered the next iteration of car sharing, in contrast to companies like Zipcar, which actually own the cars and rent them out. While security concerns are prevalent among peer-to-peer networks, RelayRides says the OnStar system makes the service more secure, since the vehicle can be monitored.
RelayRides has received more than $13 million in venture capital from a series of investors such as Google Ventures, August Capital, Shasta Ventures, and General Motors Ventures.