Hertz Rentals has placed car cameras in approximately 13% of its rental fleet. They claim that the cameras are not being used, and that they have no plans currently for using them.
Hertz added the camera as a feature of the NeverLost 6 in the event it was decided, in the future, to activate live agent connectivity to customers by video. In that plan the customer would have needed to turn on the camera by pushing a button (while stationary),” Hertz spokesperson Evelin Imperatrice explained. “The camera feature has not been launched, cannot be operated and we have no current plans to do so.”
This makes absolutely no sense. Why spend money adding cameras to your rental, when you don’t plan to use them. That would be a complete waste of money. Hertz probably already has a reason for installing the cameras, and reasons that are not helpful to the customer. I doubt that Hertz is really planning to use the cameras as a way to talk to renters about their car. No, the camera is probably there to monitor customers for mistreating the car and letting others drive.
According to the Fusion article:
In a 2013 blog post titled “Peace of Mind,” a developer involved in a Hertz hackathon wrote about using the in-car camera along with other sensors in the car to detect an accident and immediately get a customer a new vehicle. In the post, he included two screen shots of a live call, but Hertz spokesperson Imperatrice said everything done for the hackathon event was “essentially a mock-up.” “Even the video that appears to be from inside the car was not from a NeverLost,” she said.
But this raises a couple of issues. Wouldn’t Hertz be liable for wrecks occurring during videoconferencing while driving? Isn’t videotaping someone without their consent illegal in some states? What about minors, especially children and infants changing clothes or going to the bathroom in the car or van? When my daughter was a toddler and preschooler, it was easier to have a potty in the back of the van for her to use. Wouldn’t this leave Hertz liable for child porn charges if children are being videotaped without their clothes?
None of this makes any sense. The only reason that Hertz would be putting the camera in is to try to recover monetary damages from renters. It seems that few customers want a camera watching them drive. On the contrary, this may drive away some customers. But I have a solution, simply place a sticky note over the camera, or perhaps place a photo in front of the camera and have some fun. Also, I wonder how hard it would be to get images from the camera, or for that matter, any camera in any Hertz rental?