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Executive Travel : Rental Cars Get Into the Cellular Act

From Reuters

Cellular phones have become one of the ways rental companies can provide a sense of security for business travelers.

For example, Hertz Corp. recently announced free emergency service in its cars with in-place cellular phones.

Following well-publicized violence against renters last year, the industry began to take a variety of steps to increase safety. Most have stripped car rental fleets of logos, signs and markers.

Even the bar-coded inventory control tags that used to be on bumpers or in rear windows have gone into hiding.

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The industry is looking at ways to use cellular and related technology to add safety inside the car.

Avis Inc. is testing a system on 60 cars in New York using cellular phones that link the driver to a service center, which provides help ranging from traffic conditions to directions to emergency roadside aid.

About half those cars have satellite-assisted positioning devices, which allow the center and police to locate a car in distress. None of the cars have needed those services in a crime situation, Avis said.


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