Using a key to unlock a rental car could become a thing of the past as services company Bidvest has launched South Africa’s first keyless app dubbed ‘Snappdrive’.

The application, which is live on Google and Apple stores, allows users to locate their Bidvest rental car via a smartphone’s built-in GPS as well as unlock and start the vehicles without a physical key.

To gain access to the car, customers can press the ‘unlock’ button on the app. To start the engine, they simply press the ‘start’ button on the app.

Users also receive an SMS informing them of when their rental car is due back while the app further allows customers to extend their rental period if needed.

The app is also promising to eliminate the need to queue for a car at Bidvest vehicle outlets at airports.

“Most often, car rental happens at the end of an arduous travel process,” said Paulette McGhee, CEO of Bidvest Car Rental.

“With Snappdrive, we eliminate any further hassle or waiting, with the traveller’s phone leading them straight to their waiting vehicle,” said McGhee.

Bidvest said in a statement that it is able to track every vehicle via the app, which helps with real-time fleet management.

“We will be able to collect real time data on speed, mileage and fuel usage,” said Wayne Mee of Bidvest.

Bidvest said the Snappdrive app is expected to be rolled out in two phases.

Phase one is available only to the company’s car rental corporate customers and deployed in a separate vehicle group at four major locations: OR Tambo, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and King Shaka airports.

Meanwhile, phase two will be introduced to premium vehicle groups and other markets. The date for phase two still has to be announced.