ST. LOUIS, April 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In the not-too-distant future, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car customers may be renting vehicles that drive themselves. That will be one of the key points offered by Enterprise Holdings' Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Greg Stubblefield at this week's panel discussion on "The Future of Land Use in a Region of Driverless Cars." Enterprise Holdings is the world's largest car rental company, as measured by revenue, fleet and employees.
The April 28 panel discussion – hosted by the Urban Land Institute of St. Louis – will address both the benefits and concerns associated with automated vehicle technologies. Other participants include:
"The U.S. car rental industry may very well be one of the early adopters of autonomous vehicles," says Stubblefield, who also participated in the 2015 Global Business Travel Association's (GBTA) "Differentiating Brands in a Sharing Economy" panel discussion. He also was a keynote speaker at the 2015 Phocuswright travel innovation summit in Hollywood, Florida.
Chris Brown, editor of Auto Rental News magazine, agrees. "Autonomous vehicles will still need to be managed – fleeted, de-fleeted, maintained and moved – and car rental companies are poised to do that, as they already run the largest fleets in U.S. and even the world," he says.
Every year, Auto Rental News magazine charts the U.S. car rental market, ranking companies by revenue, fleet size and number of locations. "The footprint of the industry stretches from coast to coast, and includes both airport and what we call the home-city market," Brown explains. "The fact is, the autonomous vehicle model most likely will be well suited for a pay-as-you-go system, especially on the local level. And this plays into car rental's strengths of customer interface and management for the long term."
Enterprise has been delivering transportation alternatives right where people live and work since 1957. Forty years later, Enterprise trademarked the term Virtual Car®, after recognizing the strength and energy of local service, whether it is for an hour, a day, a week or longer. Today, the Enterprise Holdings network – with more than 6,200 fully staffed neighborhood and airport branch offices – is located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population.
"Consider that we average almost a million car rentals per week in the U.S.," Stubblefield states. "We know many drivers first experience new automotive technologies in rental vehicles and there's no reason to think it will be any different with autonomous technology. So, while potential liability issues obviously still need to be evaluated, our industry can quickly and efficiently introduce new autonomous vehicles to millions of consumers in cities and towns of all sizes."
"What's Ahead for Urban Mobility?"
The size, flexibility and accessibility of Enterprise Holdings' U.S. fleet and network make the company an integral part of the nation's transportation value chain. As a result, Enterprise Holdings is in a particularly knowledgeable position to contribute to public-policy discussions about local transportation infrastructure.
More recently, in 2015, Enterprise Holdings presented at universities and industry conferences about sustainable business practices and urban mobility. Through participation in the Sustainability Speaker Series at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Enterprise Holdings shared how it is implementing corporate sustainability into the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand and throughout its fleet. And in a panel during the Disrupting Mobility Summit at the MIT Media Lab, Enterprise Holdings created awareness about the importance of creating access to transportation options in local communities.
About Enterprise Holdings Enterprise Holdings – though its integrated global network of regional subsidiaries and independent franchises – operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands. The company and its affiliate, Enterprise Fleet Management, together offer a total transportation solution, including extensive car rental and car sharing services, truck rental, corporate fleet management and retail car sales. Combined, these businesses accounted for $19.4 billion in revenue, employed more than 93,000 and owned 1.7 million vehicles throughout the world in fiscal year 2015.