Daimler Gets Into Carpooling


The largest German automaker is launching a pilot carpooling project in their home country that, in the style of services like Zimride and Weeels, combines ride sharing with social media. From Wired:

Called car2gether, the service is an outgrowth of of Daimler’s car2go Smart-sharing program and, according to the company, answers the question of “how flexible and independent mobility can be achieved without car ownership.”

Car2gether matches up carpooling mates, replacing upturned thumbs and notes pinned to a corkboard with online profiles and smartphone software. All users must register and post a photo along with other personal information that we hope includes whether they plan on eating an egg salad sandwich while in the car.

Users enter details about upcoming journeys using a smartphone or PC and let the car2gether software make a match. Should users want to connect on their own, the software automatically posts details of ride offers and requests on a microblogging site similar to Twitter. 

For now, use of the software comes at no charge but like car2go, the new service requires passengers to pay for travel time — a suggested charge of 9.5 cents per minute to reimburse the driver for vehicle maintenance, gas and time spent cleaning that spilled Starbucks latte off the passenger-side floor mat. At first, passengers will pay drivers in cash but as the pilot progresses Daimler will debut an automated, cashless payment program.

It should be exciting to watch how this service (and its cashless payment system). Car2gether, which launches September 18th, is certainly starting with the right kind of real world network: in the German city of Ulm, a university town where students are both tech-savvy and in need of cheap transportation. Other cities may be on the way.