Mercedes-Benz's Croove is like Airbnb but for cars

The bad news is only Germany can get its Croove on right now.

Ever since we've used automobiles to get around, the idea has been to buy or part-own a car until it's served its purpose and then look for a new one. These days, less and less people are choosing to own their own transportation, largely due to the improvement in public transport and rise in ride-hailing services like Uber, but automakers are also finding new ways to capitalize on this shift. German car giant Mercedes-Benz believes car-sharing continues to be the way to go, so it's launched Croove, a new service that lets any vehicle owner rent out their car when they're not using it.

Croove is different to initiatives from other car makers in that it's completely peer-to-peer. Mercedes-Benz likens it to an "Airbnb for cars" that is open to all brands and models. Owners simply log their car on the service, which involves creating a profile that contains all the necessary data and features provided, and are asked to share when it can be rented. Vehicles must be "in good condition and not more than 15 years old," the company says.

Customers looking to hire a car must also register on the app, proving that they are over 21 and possess a valid driving licence, which allows them to go through a digital checklist on the vehicle's condition (before and after pickup) and pay for the ride. Once it's returned to the designated drop-off point, the renter can leave a rating via the Croove app and the car will be immediately made available for the next user.

Mercedes-Benz says Croove folds into the company's CASE (Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric) strategy, sitting alongside its "Generation EQ" electric car initiative. The service is currently being piloted in Munich, Germany and is only available on iOS devices -- if it proves popular, the scheme may be expanded to more German cities (and possibly beyond).