iPhone hits the road with Avego


Avego matches passengers and drivers through an easy-to-use system using iPhones and other mobile devices.

A cross between carpooling, public transport and eBay, Avego matches a driver's empty seats with passengers and automatically apportions the cost of the commute, providing a financial incentive for commuters hit by high gasoline prices.

Described simply as ‘shared transport', the Avego system enables a driver in transit to advertise excess capacity in his car using the new iPhone's GPS feature. This capacity is then matched to commuters who need to go in the same direction.

Drivers and passengers who want to join the Avego shared transport community can sign up for the beta at www.avego.com. Drivers need an iPhone; passengers can use either an iPhone or a regular mobile phone.

Sean O'Sullivan, executive chairman of Mapflow and co-founder of MapInfo, says: "Public transit is great, but let's face it, most of the US doesn't have the public transportation system in place to take people from where they live to where they work. Our goal with Avego is to turn every empty seat into a transport option for passengers … extending, feeding and augmenting the existing transportation network."

The Avego system enables drivers to automatically advertise excess capacity that can be filled by paying passengers. The system provides voice response, text messaging and web interfaces with real-time information for drivers and potential passengers to investigate and define the available transport capacity.

User communities (e.g. a corporate or educational campus) can self-restrict matches to their own community.

The system offers a self-correcting feedback mechanism for drivers and passengers to rate each other and subsequently restrict matches to those within the user's criteria. For instance, a female driver may choose to only accept female passengers.

The system also monitors the positions of drivers and riders to ensure reliability of service and provide safety warnings.

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