2008-05-20

Factory Reset Your Rental Car

On a recent business trip, we drove a Ford Edge with the Microsoft Sync system that I'm sure you've seen on TV lately. We played around with the system quite a bit and in the process turned off some of the beginner options and put the system into the advanced mode. This got me thinking. Will the next person be screwed? Will the rental company bother to set the Sync back to the settings that are appropriate for new users? I highly doubt it.

This is an interesting problem because not only are cars getting more and more gadgets, but we might be seeing opportunities for your private data to stick around.

5 years ago, the only traces you'd leave behind in a rental were how tall you were based on the seat position, the radio station you liked, and maybe some trash from your favorite fast food place. Now, you might have a navigation system with the customers you were visiting stored as waypoints, or your phone's contacts loaded into the Bluetooth handsfree system.

So will car manufacturers build a way to reset or wipe all of the car's systems with a simple keypress sequence? Are they even thinking about this sort of thing? Does anyone know of solutions available in the marketplace today?

2 comments:

Thaddeus said...

Great thoughts - as you said, it's highly unlikely that anybody at said companies has been thinking about this. So instead of making life simpler, these things have caused us to have to remember yet another thing as we return a rental. Nice.

Jason said...

Have to agree with Thaddeus, I doubt anyone at the companies involved has given this a thought. Too narrow of a focus, and too much interest in the "wow" versus functionality and usability. Would I expect otherwise from a Ford/Microsoft combo?

Overall, I think car telematics have been horribly overrated and underperforming to this point, with sync just being the latest.

All of this would be enough to cause me to just disregard the sync entirely if I had it in a rental.