Hertz installing driver-facing cameras in its vehicles, claims they’re not recording

by Gannon Burgett

posted Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 12:49 PM EDT


Hertz, the world’s largest car rental company, is raising eyebrows with a recent upgrade to its built-in ‘NeverLost’ navigation assistant, found in roughly 1/8th of its vehicle fleet.

According to Fusion, as part of Hertz’s mid–2014 ‘NeverLost6’ upgrade, the rental company now includes a built-in camera -- which faces the driver -- into its onboard monitoring platform, said to cover a quarter of Hertz’s vehicle fleet.

It’s worth noting these ‘black boxes’ aren’t anything new to rental cars. Almost any vehicle you get from a car rental company has a ‘black box’ on board, which monitors your location and speed of travel. The camera, however, is something that hasn’t yet been seen -- until now.

While Fusion was one of the first to break the news on a large platform, there have been concerns about the camera from around the web for some time, from Yelp reviews to travel forums.

According to Fusion, the device is capable of recording both audio and video, but Hertz’s doesn’t yet gather any data from them. In a statement to Fusion, Hertz spokesperson Evelin Imperatrice said, ‘We do not have adequate bandwidth capabilities to the car to support streaming video at this time.’

Then what are the cameras for, you ask? According to Imperatrice, the cameras are being installed in case Hertz decides to add ‘live agent connectivity’ in the future, which would allow renters to video chat with Hertz agents when a question, concern or accident comes up.

In that regard, the camera seems like a genuinely beneficial technology, as it allows for a much better customer service experience. But that doesn’t necessarily ease the concern of those creeped out by a camera potentially watching every poorly-attempted singalong they partake in.

What are your thoughts on such a platform? Creepy or convenience?