May 16, 2010 in car2go

Man, sleep takes up a lot of the day.

Already down to 14 hours and change, but thankfully I woke to a server at the ready with car2go.markphillip.com patiently waiting for it’s first task.

So what exactly are we doing today? First, some background.

car2go is a car-sharing program that descended on Austin earlier this year. Unlike any other program I’ve seen, it’s completely focused on one-way trips. Find a car, hop in, drive it, park it, walk away. There’s no returning it to where you first picked it up, or even searching for a sanctioned parking zone. You just park it at any legal street parking spot (meters are okay too), and shed your 90-hp speed demon like a NASCAR tearoff.

It’s pure genius.

There are 200 cars scattered about the Austin area, and with a quick swipe of your membership card you’re off an driving. For someone that lives Central and hasn’t owned a car since 2004, it’s pretty much the best thing ever. Except for one small thing…

Finding, and even reserving cars online is a breeze, but what about when you’re around town running errands? I’m not an iPhone-owner so I can’t use the official app, and the CSRs on the toll-free members help line, while quite polite don’t know the Austin area very well. They’re based somewhere in Europe so I can’t really blame them. If you called me up to ask for directions to Trafalgar Square, I’d struggle too.

car2go needs to have apps for all smartphones, and today the goal is to build it for them. We’ll be building a Webkit-focused mobile site that has as much functionality as we can squeeze in. If it all works, not only will there be a mobile-friendly URL that any phone can visit, but we’ll be just a hop, skip, and a jump from installable apps on iPhone, Android, and Palm.

Enough blabbing. Time to go slurp up some data.

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