Charlotte-based company connects riders with personal drivers - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

What's Next

Charlotte-based company connects riders with personal drivers

Posted: Updated:
Autopilot is an app that connects rider and drivers in minutes, offering black car service at a cab's price. Autopilot is an app that connects rider and drivers in minutes, offering black car service at a cab's price.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

A Charlotte company is offering an alternative to other app-based services that match people in need of a ride with drivers.

Entrepreneur Ben Lee says he came up with the idea for Autopilot following a night of dinner and drinks with friends that left him in need of a designated driver.

"I came up with the idea: What if you could push a button and see someone come to you in real time?" Lee explained.

Autopilot is an app that connects rider and drivers in minutes, offering black car service at a cab's price. The user simply clicks a button in the app to request a ride, and a few minutes later the driver arrives.

"When you call a taxi, you have to Google to find the right number," explained Beck Kasimov, who is a driver with Autopilot.

Beck said the service is not only convenient for those looking for a ride, it is also safer for drivers because Autopilot requires a cashless transaction. The credit card payment for the ride and tip is handled through the app.

"I come to the location, pick up the customer, take them to their destination," Kasimov said. "No money is exchanged."

With background checks required for drivers, Kasimov said the service is a win-win for the driver and rider.

"You know what kind of driver you are going to get because it shows you the name of the driver and what kind of rating the driver has," he said.

One of the most popular features, Lee said, is the app's ride sharing feature, which allows riders to call the private, black car service or a car pool-type service.

"An everyday driver who is already going from home [or] to work can now make some extra money to cover gas or save some money for a family vacation," Lee said. "They can open their app … to see if there is a fellow commuter looking to go from A to B."

He said, "Our motto to drivers is, 'You drive everyday anyway, why not start getting paid for it?'"

After arriving at their destination, the customer has the opportunity to rate the driver and ride on a scale of "Amazing" to "Horrible." Lee explained the company looks into any rating that is below "Amazing."

"At Autopilot, we're really about safety and convenience, and delivering that wherever people live, work and play," Lee said.

Like the private car service, the car pool drivers are also screened and rated, Lee said.

Lee launched the service in Charlotte a year ago, and in February Autopilot had a soft launch in Raleigh.

Last month, ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft both also launched in Raleigh. Like Autopilot, the services connect independent drivers in their personal vehicles with people who need a ride.

Because the services are not considered taxi companies, they do not have to follow the City of Raleigh's regulations on taxis.

RELATED STORIES

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Melanie Sanders

Melanie anchors the 6 PM news. Her "What's Next" series features an engaging approach to storytelling and highlights the leaders in innovation who are shaping our future. Check it out HERE! More>>

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Brazen 'sliding' thieves targeting cars at SC gas pumps, sheriff warns

    Brazen 'sliding' thieves targeting cars at SC gas pumps, sheriff warns

    Monday, August 18 2014 4:34 PM EDT2014-08-18 20:34:12 GMT
    It's a crime of opportunity cops call "sliding." Thieves are targeting unsuspecting motorists while they are pumping gas -- and it only takes seconds.It's a trend that's on the rise nationwide.Imagine you are getting out of your car to pump gas, leaving your door unlocked.
    It's a crime of opportunity cops call "sliding." Thieves are targeting unsuspecting motorists while they are pumping gas -- and it only takes seconds.It's a trend that's on the rise nationwide.Imagine you are getting out of your car to pump gas, leaving your door unlocked.
  • Colleges add luxury touches to new stadiums

    Colleges add luxury touches to new stadiums

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:04 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:04:48 GMT
    Lining the brightly lit hallways of Populous, one of the leading architectural firms behind college sports, there are hundreds of scale models and graphic renderings of college football stadiums in various stages...
    Lining the brightly lit hallways of Populous, one of the leading architectural firms behind college sports, there are hundreds of scale models and graphic renderings of college football stadiums in various stages of...
  • NC State researchers work with Disney on football tracking tech

    NC State researchers work with Disney on football tracking tech

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 6:06 PM EDT2014-08-19 22:06:28 GMT
    The ball could be tracked in heavy snow, goal line pile ups, or the position of the ball’s forward progress. (Disney Research)The ball could be tracked in heavy snow, goal line pile ups, or the position of the ball’s forward progress. (Disney Research)
    Two N.C. State researchers have come up with a way to track a football at all times.
    Two N.C. State researchers have come up with a way to track a football at all times.
Powered by WorldNow

1732 Valley View Dr.
Birmingham, AL 35209

Telephone: 205.933.1313
Fax: 205.323.3314
Email: newstips@alabamas13.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.