Peer-to-peer car sharing applications are changing the way we own and use vehicles. Car owners put their vehicles to better use by renting them out, while those who don't own a car or are travelling without a vehicle can easily and effortlessly rent one on the spot.

In comparison to traditional car rental companies, car sharing apps offer a wider range of makes, models, and price ranges as well as flexible rental durations ranging between a few hours and several weeks. Modern web and mobile applications and a seamless customer experience add to the success of these businesses. But apart from their accomplishments, all peer-to-peer car sharing platforms face challenges, too.

The pick-up and drop-off process is one of these crucial friction points. If the start or end of a car rental involves an inconvenient meetup place or long wait times, both, vehicle owners and renters will stop using the product and resort back to more traditional car rental companies. This is why businesses like Turo and Nabobil use Smartcar's digital car key API.

What is the digital car key API?

Smartcar allows web and mobile applications to communicate with vehicles across brands without any hardware involved. Our digital car key API lets app users lock and unlock their cars directly from a mobile app on their phones. The API also allows vehicle owners to share their car keys with others via the same mobile app. Here's what an unlock request looks like using Node.js in the backend:

How do car sharing companies use the API?

Businesses like Turo and Nabobil use the Smartcar digital car key API in their peer-to-peer car sharing apps to let car owners share a digital key to their vehicle with renters. Instead of having to meet and exchange keys at the beginning and end of each rental, car owners can simply opt into the company's keyless car sharing program. Our Smartcar Connect flow allows them to connect their vehicle with just a few clicks:

When a renter books the car, they are able easily find and unlock the vehicle directly from the car sharing app. They no longer need to meet with vehicle owners to exchange car keys. Even after the rental period ends, renters can simply lock the car and leave it for the vehicle owner to come and get whenever it's most convenient for them.

The digital car key API save vehicle owners and renters time and hassle. It creates a more seamless user experience and improves customer satisfaction for both parties. Thanks to the time savings and flawless user experience, car sharing businesses have seen the number of bookings on their platforms increase significantly after integrating with the Smartcar API.

This is how peer-to-peer car sharing companies use the Smartcar digital car key API to create a frictionless pick-up and drop-off process for vehicle owners and renters. Car sharing applications also use the Smartcar location API to make vehicles easier to find Learn more about the location API in this blog post and please don't hesitate to reach out to our team with any questions.