After extensively reasearching car-sharing and car-rental services, we discovered one common issue that really stood out. After renting the car it always had to be manually checked up for any damages by an employee, possible damages have to be documented by hand and the whole process is very time consuming. Therefore our group came to the conlusion that the best way to solve this issue is to automate the whole damage detection process.
Eventually the idea of a 3D scanner that is placed at the stations of the car rental services seemed the most plausible one. Before and after renting the car, it gets scanned and any damages can be instantly detected and documented. Obviously the providers would not only save a lot of time due to the automatization but they would have more reliable documentation and actual proof in case of damages actually being caused by a customer. But it would also benefit the customers as they can’t be wrongly blamed for causing damage anymore.
Our next steps would be to build the scanners, which is possible with today’s technology and install them at the most frequented car rental stations so the expenses for the scanner pay off, and test out the whole system. After that it could be expanded to maybe transportable scanners so the cars can also be scanned when not at the station which would be highly beneficial for car-sharing services.
After finishing our field study and making use of different ideation methods, we decided to make damage detection and documentation for car rental services easier. During our field study we found out, that manual damage detection is a very time consuming and error-prone step, because car renters don’t just not tell about bumps, but even try to hide smaller ones.
That’s why we want to automate the process completely. Doing that we do not only save time, but increase also traceability of damage, in order to avoid renters complaining about paying for damage which might have already been there before they rented out the car.As you can see in our storyboard , a 3D car scanner would detect damages, ask the operator to recheck marked areas and in case of a a bigger defect, it could even adjust fleet management.
As our group aims at improving car rental and car sharing services, our User Research was mainly based on trying to find out more about the providers.
Therefore we visited the headquarters of SIXT, one of the biggest car rental services in Europe, and interviewed several employees who provided a lot of background information on the different tasks they have to manage and the difficulties they face on an average workday. Additionally they showed us around, introduced us to all the processes and we were able to observe the customer flow.
But to gather more varied information and disclose differences between the services, we also interviewed a management employee at Buchbinder, another renowed rental service, as well as staff from Henne-Unimog GmbH which specializes in utility vehicles.
In addition to observing the use of car-sharing services like DriveNow , all this research now provides us with sufficient knowledge to begin with the development process.