This is how a new ride-sharing app works

Lcar journeys can be quite annoying. Especially if you are often stuck in traffic jams. Or a route as a weekend commuter constantly drives. A chauffeur would be great now. You could sleep a lap, read something or chat with the driver without having to concentrate on the road.

Cultivate Scherff

Editor in the “Money & More” section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

Unfortunately, a chauffeur is priceless for average earners. A new app could help. It ties in with the idea of ​​the car sharing agency, but reverses the basic principle: Until now, online platforms such as BlaBlaCar have brought drivers who don’t want to drive alone with passengers who want to travel cheaply and contribute to the fuel costs. The idea has been around for a long time. Before the Internet age, there were ridesharing agencies with offices in the centers of large cities, often near the main train stations. Mediation was made on site or by phone.

An extra insurance protects the car owner

The new app called Autonaut also enables car owners and passengers to find each other. However, here the passenger becomes the driver, i.e. the chauffeur for the car owner. This offers advantages for both: The passenger can travel cheaply without using fuel, i.e. cheaper than with normal carpooling. And the car owner can relax on longer journeys. Both can set their travel preferences in the app. It’s not completely free. The passenger has to pay an agency fee of 4.90 euros per trip to Autonaut. Those who use the app frequently should receive a discount. The car owner has to pay for the fuel and, if necessary, take out third-party driver protection insurance through Pangea Life, a subsidiary of the insurance company “Die Bayerische”.

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She steps in if the mediated driver has an accident. Because normal car insurance actually only insures the car owner and other registered persons, but not other drivers mediated by an app. If such a driver causes an accident, she pays for the damage, but imposes a contractual penalty. The third-party driver policy pays this penalty, reimburses the costs of the downgrade through the insurance and pays the deductible. It does this for both the liability and the comprehensive insurance policy. Pangea Life insurance costs 4.90 euros for 24 hours, so usually for one trip. Company car owners often already have such a policy through their employer. But you have to clarify whether you can get such drivers.

The third-party driver policy is just one of several forms of protection for the car owner. The strange driver presents himself on the mediation platform with age, photo and a description, in which you can later write whether you prefer to chat or listen to music while driving and what hobbies you have. The evaluation for driving style and punctuality and the other comments are important. And of course everyone who wants to drive has to show their driver’s license when starting the journey. Conversely, the car owner is also rated by the drivers, above all it is about cleanliness and the technical condition of the car.

Sustainable through CO2 compensation

For more sustainability, Pangea Life wants to use the insurance fee for the kilometers driven to offset CO2, which is to flow into climate protection projects. In addition, in a further development stage of the app, it should also be possible to take additional people with you – as classic passengers as with the normal ride-sharing centers and for a share of the petrol costs. So the cars should be full and not only be on the road with two occupants.

The app will start in the fourth quarter with a test run until the beginning of next year. During this time, use will be free of charge, but limited to those from Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Berlin. The app should be usable throughout Germany from 2022 onwards.

Autonaut was founded in autumn 2019 by Stephan Augustin, the German Federal Environment Foundation (DBU) supports the company. For the first year, the 53-year-old native of Munich would be satisfied with 5000 to 10,000 users, he says, in the long term he thinks half a million is feasible. The target group are long-distance commuters, business people who want to work while driving, and older people for whom long journeys are too strenuous. Augustin has been working full-time for BMW in design research for almost 25 years. Six years ago he founded a start-up: “Curfboard” produces special skateboards. Now he has buttoned up larger mobiles.