The breakthrough app allowing you to rent your car by the hour while at work

Private vehicle owners will soon be able to hire out their car or van to strangers at an hourly rate, allowing them to earn cash while they work or hang at home.

Renee Graham finds out about a new app which will allow you to hire your car out without handing over the keys. Source: 1 NEWS

Entrepreneurs in Wellington have developed an app called 'Roam Ride', which can unlock cars and start engines without keys.

Developer Jezz Santos thinks private vehicle owners will relish the ability to make some money.

"Most of our cars, even for those people who commute every day, don't use their cars all that much really.

"Something like 90 per cent of cars are sitting idle and parked somewhere. So for a lot of people, being able to make some money on that, is a pretty good proposition."

Something like 90 per cent of cars are sitting idle - Jezz Santos, Roam Ride developer

The app allows owners to decide their own hourly rental rate, after they've paid for petrol and maintenance.

Entrepreneur Andrew Kissling says similar schemes overseas have attracted 25 to 45 year olds.

"They tend to live in the city. They're usually well educated. And most of them don't own cars. The few that do own cars often put them on the network for their friends to use."

Drivers find a car near them using the app’s GPS technology.

Once their booking gets approval by the owner, a button pops up on screen, which unlocks the car.

"We fit a piece of technology into the car which allows people remote access without keys to their car," says Santos.

There's several car-sharing companies in Auckland already, but they don't have the keyless technology and the company often owns the vehicles, so private owners can't rent out their cars.

A trial of 'Roam Ride' starts next month in Wellington.

It's similar to Trademe type-thing - Dan Young, trial participant

IAG has agreed to insure car owners and drivers in the scheme.

Dan Young is a trial participant, who lives in central Wellington and is trying to figure out if he and his partner need a car.

He says aspects of the app will be familiar to people.

"It's similar to Trademe type-thing. In that if you deal with a bad borrower, you're going to give bad feedback. And once it gets off the ground and you've got a lot of people interested, that marketplace takes care of all that."

AA Spokesman Barney Irvine says the app is a great use of existing resources, but he's not sure how popular it will be.

"Technologies like this are always going to face an up-hill battle in New Zealand. We've got small and spread out populations, and car ownership costs are low.

"So we already have a situation where most people have access to cars pretty easily. And we're not used to sharing them. so we'd expect it to be evolutionary, rather than revolutionary.”

Roam Ride's launch in the major centres is planned for November.

Its developers are hoping the technology will also be bought for use in car-sharing schemes overseas. They are currently raising funds to get it out to potential investors and buyers on the crowd-funding website called Crowdcube.