Mini is trialling an app in Spain that allows family, friends, in fact anyone you nominate — to borrow your car.

You don’t even need the keys.

With the new MINI Sharing app, Mini owners can grant up to 10 people permission to borrow the car using their smart phone.

The peer-to-peer sharing trial is designed for a fleet of up to 500 vehicles.

Owners of current models from March 2018 onwards will be invited to participate, and their vehicle will be equipped or retrofitted with a sharing module that enables access and engine start via smartphone.

Yes, but what about . . . I hear you ask?

Guest drivers can use the app to make a reservation from their smartphone, with just a few taps — vehicle availability is shown in an inbuilt calendar.

After the owner says yes, the location of the car and walking directions are displayed on their phone.

Upon arrival, the bnorrower’s phone becomes the car key to start the car.

A Bluetooth connection between the smartphone and the car makes it possible to open the vehicle doors and start the engine using start/stop button.

The car’s owner can mark specific users as VIPs which means they can book the car without having to wait for consent.

What happens afterwards?

After the journey, the Mini must be returned to an agreed “area” and locked via smartphone.

The App generates a report for billing, and the guest driver is invited to transfer payment to the owner via PayPal.

The cost is based on a flat rate of 0.30 euros per kilometre.

Insurance cover for each vehicle can be extended easily, with a lump sum for each additional guest driver participating in the trial.

But wait there’s more.

The owner can see the location of their car at any time via the App, that is unless there is a passenger — for privacy reasons.

The trail in Madrid is expected to provide important insights for the global expansion of the Mini brand’s sharing economy activities.

The BMW Group has identified digital mobility services as one of the future fields to advance as part of its NUMBER ONE> NEXT strategy.

With its increased commitment to the D-ACES (Design, Autonomous, Connected, Electrified and Services) topics, the company is playing a leading role in shaping mobility of the future.

“MINI drivers are always ahead of their time, just like their groundbreaking and modern vehicles,” MINI Senior Vice President, Sebastian Mackensen, said.

“With MINI Sharing, we enable our customers in Spain to participate in the sharing economy. This new technology fits perfectly with our desirable cars and our innovative customer demographic.”

Based on the info collected, the trial could be extended to other cities worldwide.

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.