AI Platform Designed to Reduce Damage Costs

Vehicle inspection technology aimed at car rental industry

If artificial intelligence hasn’t made its presence known in the car rental industry by now, it soon will be a lot more evident by the time more functions are added to the technology. Companies are already experimenting with more robust apps and the fine science involved in developing driverless vehicles. Now, energy behemoth Shell is teaming up with Israel-based nascent high-tech firm Ravin.AI to work on damage control.

That’s damage control as in physical impairment to cars, by the way. The tandem involves $4 million in seed money to put together an AI-controlled vehicle inspection platform. Besides Shell, other investors include PICO and car magnate Adam Draizin, with hopes of creating a system that uses cameras and AI to detect, analyze and evaluate the extent of vehicular damage of car rental fleets.

While the project mission statement doesn’t have the mass appeal of driverless cars which tend to dominate the industry and trade media these days, inspections are a big deal in that the new platform is designed to cut down costs in determining vehicular damage. In the U.S. alone in 2018, car rentals were on the hook for more than $28 billion in vehicle damage. In Europe, insurers and fleet owners annually have to pay up $50 billion in processing and payments for damage to vehicles in incidents that are frequently caused by other drivers.

Pending the success of the platform once development and testing phases are complete, the timeline for its availability in North America is purely speculative. But once it hit the market, car rentals and insurance companies stand to benefit from a great deal of cost reduction as inspection procedures become more efficient. With access to the AI platform, it might take little more than a smartphone to create a 360-degree perspective of a vehicle that highlights more detailed images of vehicle damage. Faster detection results in faster repairs, cutting down the timeline of when a vehicle can return to the fleet.

“Ravin’s mission is to bring trust and transparency to the often stressful process of a car changing hands – whether its buying a used car or renting a car for the weekend,” said Ravin CEO Eliron Ekstein. “Our first customers are already seeing the benefits of using our technology, and we look forward to rolling out additional partnerships over the next several months.” 

Although Ravin is a relatively new player on the AI front, it’s already had experience in partnering with a major car rental company. The firm created a faster check-in and check-out system for fleet customer at the Avis office at London’s Heathrow Airport.

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