Audi USA Tests Shared Fleet Service in North Carolina

Ahead of its plans to start a corporate car-sharing service in 2017, Audi is running public tests of its mobility service in Durham, North Carolina. The move is an early step into mobility market that the Volkswagen Group is pursuing.

Durham is home to American Underground, a technology incubator run out of the former American Tobacco Co. complex, and as such is the perfect place to test the car sharing service, says Audi.

“Piloting the service here gives us the necessary affirmation as we launch this new service nationally next year,” says Thiemo Rusch, senior director, vehicle sales and operation at Audi of America.

The service will start with three fully accessorized, Audi A4s that American Underground entrepreneurs can unlock with an app on their phone. Once unlocked, they will find the key inside, and can use the A4 to get them where they need to go.

The cars are being housed at American Underground’s 115,000 square-foot campus, which houses more than 200 companies.

“In our urban ecosystem, this program will alleviate two major pain points for our entrepreneurs: a need for easy, face-to-face collaboration across all points of the Research Triangle and a desire to utilize public transportation in their commute to avoid parking restraints,” says Adam Klein, chief strategist, American Underground. “The fact that our entrepreneurs can now accomplish these needs in the style and performance of an Audi is a very pleasant bonus.”

The test is a precursor to the roll out of Audi’s corporate car-sharing service, set to debut next year. The service is part of Audi and the wider Volkswagen Group’s plan to become a major mobility provider.

You can expect more future services in this vein, like Audi on demand, Audi at home, and a thirteenth brand dedicated to mobility following the Volkswagen Group’s partnership with Israel’s Gett, a ride sharing app like Uber that’s popular in Europe.

This story first appeared on fourtitude.com