For many years RFID has been a key driver of change in the automotive industry. RFID has been a fundamental element in the transformation of cars into the intelligent vehicles we know today. The wireless technology has been deployed across the world serving various use cases including road tolling, license plate authentication, electronic vehicle registration, law enforcement, access control, vehicle immobilization and fleet management.
Now RFID has once again been used to make the way we drive easier, simpler and more stress free. Sixt – one of the world’s largest car rental agencies- has rolled out a UHF RFID solution from Vilant, which is powered by NXP’s UCODE and is used for speeding up car rental processes.
NXP – which is well known for enabling contactless, fast, effective, secure and reliable vehicle identification through RFID technology – has previously worked with partners on embedding RFID tags into vehicle license plates, windshield labels and other vehicle tagging products. NXP and its partners have now embedded passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags into key fobs, as well as readers in sales counters and inside the lock boxes where customers deposit keys when the office is shut.
Driving change for improved customer satisfaction
Sixt, based in Germany, operates 2,200 branches worldwide and has a total fleet of 144,000 rental vehicles. One of the key challenges for this large organisation is streamlining the process of allocating cars to customers and ensuring they don’t have to wait too long to get the car they want. Not only would this make the company more efficient but it would increase customer satisfaction and retention.
With the new RFID solution in place, Sixt has a much better view of exactly what cars it has in stock and the current location of the car keys. Previous to the implementation of the solution it could take up to three minutes to find a key, whereas now it only takes 20 seconds – at a busy airport branch that can deal with more than 600 rentals a day this is a huge potential time saving.
RFID readers are even installed in key trays for freshly cleaned cars. Staff at the rental office now know which cars are out, which are in and which vehicles are cleaned and ready for rental. The improved speed of service and availability of desired vehicles has already reduced the number of customer complaints by 30 per cent. Disputes about the exact time of returned vehicles have also dropped as RFID can provide accurate time information.