Tony Mortensen, General Manager of Thrifty Car Rentals NZ talks about the advances and implications of the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) for the car rental industry.

The implementation of smart technology in a growing number vehicles is presenting an exciting opportunity in the car rental industry. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), are electronic systems designed to aid drivers in their travels. Features such as lane departure detection, emergency braking, integrated radar cruise control and parking assist are just a few of the many features found in most modern vehicles.

With an average fleet age of only 12 months, Thrifty Car Rentals are constantly upgrading their fleet to the most modern vehicles available. In 2017, less than 10% of the total fleet contained ADAS features, but by the end of 2020 over 90% of the Thrifty Car Rental fleet will contain some of the most common ADAS features, which were traditionally only found in high end European vehicles. “This will be hugely beneficial to everyone on the road, helping to reduce accidents. For our rental industry, it means a safer driving environment for everyone” says Tony.

While driver aided systems are believed to improve the driver experience and reduce accidents, the flip side is that all this technology comes at a cost.  More specifically, if an accident or incident does occur then the repairs are often  more complex increasing the cost significantly. A good example is a standard small sedan windscreen replacement pre ADAS would have cost around approx. $300 to $400 dollars. Now the same replacement could cost anywhere from $1,500 – $2,000. Likewise a standard repair to the front bumper of a medium SUV  has gone from approx. $500 to $800 of paint and panel to well over $2,000. This is all due to the number of newly introduced, highly sensitive sensors and cameras that are found in modern vehicles.

“What we are hoping to see, is this spike in cost plateau. When this technology becomes commonplace, it’s possible that the increase in cost of repairs will slow, making it more accessible for the rental industry and private car owners” says Tony. “This is one of the most significant changes the industry has seen in the last 8 years and is only set to continue as automation slowly makes its way into tomorrow’s vehicles”.

“We are excited to introduce new technology into our fleet, as it makes its way into tomorrow’s vehicles and believe that the benefits of this technology outweigh the cost.” Tony adds.