For the first time, Europcar will be participating in the Mobile World Congress, the worlds largest trade show for mobile communications. In association with Solaris Mobile, a joint venture of satellite operators Eutelsat and SES Astra, Europes leading car rental company will be presenting a prototype car featuring a high-speed onboard television. The official launch of this technology is scheduled for the end of March 2009.
Europcar and Solaris Mobile have been working together on the project for several months. Five Mercedes Class E cars in the Europcar fleet — equipped with high-speed TV screens for passengers and an onboard computer — will be demonstrated at the show.
The TV system uses the DVB-SH standard, which allows the transmission of video images and data to mobile terminals through a hybrid network of satellite and terrestrial links. With the launch of the Eutelsat W2A satellite in March, Europe will benefit for the first time from continuous coverage, making it possible to have consistent reception quality, regardless of the type of vehicle or its location.
During the show in Barcelona, there will be two platforms for demonstrations:
- in real-life conditions: 4 cars will act as shuttles between the airport and downturn Barcelona. Thanks to a partnership with Spanish operator Abertis Telecom, passengers will be able to watch programs from a collection of live TV networks, including Euronews and Eurosport.
- a presentation of mobile infotainment TV services on the Solaris Mobile booth.
The development is a further demonstration of Europcars strategy for innovation, which has made the company a pioneer in its field. Other Europcar initiatives in this tradition include paperless rental contracts — which also support its strategy to be as environmentally friendly as possible and its Fast Check program of pre-registering contracts to reduce waiting times for customers.
Commenting on this latest innovation, Guirec Grand-Clement, Global Sales and Marketing Director of Europcar International, said: We are very pleased with this partnership because it illustrates our commitment to offering our customers not only optimal comfort but the latest in available technology. Europcars leadership in its industry, combined with Solaris Mobiles strong position in mobile TV and its unique network for global coverage in Europe, makes this prototype the first of its kind in mobile communications.
In addition to direct satellite TV, the prototype cars on display in Barcelona are equipped with a system for very wide band GPS tracking services.