Skift Take

Hackathons beat sitting around and brainstorming, and Hertz is smart to tap the wisdom of the coders as mobile becomes even more important in the car-rental industry.

Hertz is turning to hackers for apps and ideas.

More than 200 developers, many from area car manufacturers, took part in Hertz’s Mobility and Connected Car Hackathon at nestGSV in Redwood City, California, late last month.

After the final code had been written, developers presented more than 50 apps in the competition.

The winning app, dubbed Hertz Peace of Mind, enables drivers using Hertz NeverLost, the GPS unit,┬áto initiate or recieve a video video call to speak with a Hertz dispatcher to discuss any issues with the vehicle. The app, which took the $15,000 first-place prize, would work in both Hertz cars and drivers’ personal vehicles if they are equipped with Hertz NeverLost.

The Hertz Peace of Mind app also would enable dispatchers to monitor sensors in the Hertz vehicle in the event of an accident, and to take appropriate actions.

“The agent side has a dashboard to assess the driver, alert 911/tow trucks/replacement vehicle, and record the details of the scene,” Hertz states.

JeanCarl Bisson, who led the Peace of Mind team, discussed the hack in a blog post, and he further describes it in the video below.

Hertz said it dispensed “more than $50,000 in cash as well as other prizes” for the competition and is providing access to car and mobile experts at Hertz, AT&T, Nokia and other companies.

Hertz says it awarded the $10,000 second place prize to, which created “an app for crowd-funding Dream Car rentals.”

Third place, worth $5,000, went to wayz2go, an app to “solve the traveling salesman problem while calculating the best type of transportation for each leg, such as subway, bus, taxi,” Hertz says.

Hertz gave the hackers access to various APIs to access Hertz systems and develop apps to work off them.

“Hertz is now working to determine a team to recieve support by Hertz and nestGSV to further develop and bring their products to market,” the company states. “Selected startups that are aligned with Hertz’s innovation strategy will be accelerated over a 3-month period in a Hertz Acclerator program, located at, and run by, nestGSV.”

A Peace of Mind representative explains the app in the following video (although the quality of the video isn’t the best):


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Tags: gps, hackers, hertz

Photo credit: Members of the winning app, Hertz Peace of Mind, with nestGSV founder Kayvan Baroumand in the background. nestGSV, which supported the Hertz hackathon, runs a startup accelerator program for Hertz. Hertz

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