Streetcar's futuristic iPhone app lets you locate, book and unlock your hire car

streetcar-unlock[UK] This one could be straight out of a science fiction movie. Streetcar, which claims to be the UK’s largest pay-as-you-go car club, has released an updated version of its iPhone app that includes the ability to unlock your hire car using the phone itself.

The app lets users search for and book nearby ‘street cars’ that are parked across 1,000 locations in London and other smaller British cities, such as Brighton and Cambridge, as well as manage their accounts and keep up with the latest news related to the service.

And of course, as already mentioned, members can also use the app to unlock their chosen hire car.

streetcar-iphone-shotIn predictable iPhone fashion, users simply swipe their finger across the app’s unlock toggle and – bingo – the car doors unlock. It basically replicates the same functionality as the Streetcar ‘smart card’ given to every member, although I’m sure using the iPhone instead is a lot more fun.

As one customer tweeted, it’s likely to give any self-certified geek the “tech shivers” the first time that they open their vehicle this way. It also points to a long predicted trend whereby the smartphone replaces your wallet.

Streetcar was launched in April 2004 after its founders were inspired by a similar model being tried in the U.S. The service claims 70,000 members who can hire cars for short city-type journeys from as little as £4.95 per hour, with the first 30 miles of fuel included. Essentially, it’s a kind of car sharing club designed to cut down on the cost of ‘car ownership’.