Motorola And Avis Launch Navigation System

From Motorola’s press release:

In anticipation of the busy Memorial Day travel weekend when millions of Americans will hit the road, Avis Rent A Car and Motorola today announced completion of the nationwide rollout of “Avis Assist” – a mobile phone-based navigation system now available in 57 U.S. cities.

Powered by Motorola’s VIAMOTO software, Avis Assist gives travelers the ability to bypass unwieldy maps and confusing gas station directions by gaining instant “talking” directions from a Motorola handset, which can easily be mounted in the car or carried in your pocket.

“Since we first introduced Avis Assist late last year, consumer acceptance has exceeded our expectations,” said Scott Deaver, executive vice president of marketing for Cendant Car Rental Group, the parent company of Avis. “The fact that Avis Assist can be used in conjunction with any vehicle is proving to be especially attractive to our renters. This confirms our belief that drivers not only want GPS service, but also seek mobility, speed and ease of use to reap the benefits.”

To map out a route, travelers simply contact the call center for a live Avis Advisor or input their destination through the phone keypad. Once the destination is received, the VIAMOTO system calculates a route, downloads it from a server to the mobile handset, and begins pinpointing the traveler’s location to ensure accurate directions. As soon as the car begins moving, street-specific directions are communicated through the handset’s speakerphone. If the traveler takes a wrong turn, the system knows it and will recalculate the route — helping to ensure no more wrong turns!

“Directions and navigational applications are among the top requests for mobile consumers,” said Neal Campbell, general manager of location services for Motorola. “By harnessing Motorola’s deep understanding of GPS, cellular and software technologies, we created a simple solution in VIAMOTO that delivers what consumers want while giving companies like Avis a tool to differentiate and drive sales.”

One-third of all U.S. wireless users are interested in receiving location-based information such as driving directions, according to the Yankee Group. “VIAMOTO and Avis are together meeting an acute need in the market,” says Eugene Signorini, wireless analyst with the Yankee Group, “while solving problems for people on the go.”

The latest additions to the roster of cities offering Avis Assist include: Seattle, Houston and Honolulu.

Motorola and Avis plan to expand the Avis Assist suite of offerings to include real-time traffic updates and alternate routes, as well as Amber Alert notices, later this summer. In addition, Motorola’s VIAMOTO solution will offer users the ability to receive information on local restaurants and schedule reservations, receive updates on event listings, and identify areas of interest such as the closest ATM.

Avis Assist units can be rented in conjunction with any Avis vehicle at available locations for an additional $9.95 per day. Equipment can be reserved in advance at 888-777-AVIS.