Knowledge: How you can safely carry out test drives using clever technology

Time 5:35 pm, May 22, 2020

With car dealers heading back to work to a whole raft of changes – none are going to be more of a shock to the system than the unaccompanied test drive.

Sending off customers in a new car with trade plates to work it out for themselves will feel very alien indeed to most dealers, however it is something they’ll have to get used to.

With social distancing measures likely to be in place for many months to come, dealers will need to work out new ways of operating safe and informative test drives.

One way to ensure customers still get the knowledge they need while trying out one of your cars is to use technology – and the Ignition CoDriver App could be just the thing.

Using an iPad, some clever software and an injection of ingenuity, the app could be just the thing to help car dealers overcome unaccompanied test drives giving customers a guided tour of your cars while out on their own.

In this Car Dealer Knowledge article – and video which you can see above – we chat to the firm’s managing director Rob Forsyth and commercial director Simon McDermott.

Here, they explain how the solution works in a Q&A, but you can also hear all about it in the video above.

How does CoDriver actually work? 

It works using GPS coordinates that are positioned using carefully placed triggers, which in turn correspond with the iPad. There are no hidden data costs or anything like that. 

How do I use it?

There are a few options available.

We come to your dealership and you show us your preferred test drive route. We’ll then set-up everything and you don’t have to worry about a thing, save putting the iPad in the vehicle before a test drive

You send us your routes and we build it remotely. If you don’t have time to test it, we’ve got gurus all around the country to assist in any matters you need 

We train you remotely and provide written guides, along with phone and online support to establish your routes. Once everything is up and running for a vehicle you don’t need to touch it again 

We use a bit of both: we set-up the route on site and train yourselves onto how to use it (it’s very easy) and we manage the route and any changes remotely 

Where’s all the kit?

CoDriver runs off a sole iPad which we place hidden away in the vehicle. Your customers never even see the equipment.

What would be the benefit of having this system in my dealership, to me, personally?

The system provides point specific information at exactly the same place, every single time it is used. It allows you to get the key points across that you would normally on the test drive, while adhering to the new normal of social distancing. 

Essentially, it gives you a presence in the vehicle without being there, so customers get the same level of information, and hopefully, that one crucial and relevant piece of info that would clinch the sale. The details and statistics of which can be found here.

What about changing the system when I swap from car to car?

Selecting a different vehicle’s set of sound files can be done simply with three prompts on the iPad.

Can the system be tailored to what the customer wants to hear?

Like with above, each vehicle can be broken down into as many variants of the route as you want: Safety, technological, sporty, ecological, you name it – CoDriver can create a route to pass along specific information, relevant for that particular customer.

I am not a ‘techy’ person at all so this sounds confusing. Is the actual process easy? 

We completely understand it may sound confusing, but we are always updating and making it easier for users. 15 years of experience has gone into CoDriver and once you see it in action for yourself, we’re confident you’ll see how easy it can be. 

Of course, if there’s someone who is remarkably tech savvy, and this sounds like their ideal cup of tea, then we can of course train them. Although it remains the same level of easy no matter who’s using it!

I am in a very remote location, how do you expect it to work here?

It runs on GPS, so if you aren’t based underground, or in a tunnel, we think you’ll be alright!

I use many different routes depending on what road types my customer says they drive. How can CoDriver cater to that?

Not a problem. We can create as many routes, with as many vehicle types as you like, so you’re prepared for any customer type.

I have a customer who wishes to test drive a vehicle but does not wish to come to the dealership. Can my customers use it at home?

Yes. We (or you) could create a route from that customers home.

I have several used cars at my dealership, does this work for them, or is it just for new models?

It will work for any vehicle, old or new.

How much does it cost?

We wanted to address this last, so it sticks with you as the final point you read. It’s entirely situational and dependant on requirements.

After an initial fixed cost of set-up, the process becomes about self-management, and a small weekly licensing fee will be paid to have all the vehicles in your dealership covered for unaccompanied test drives.

There are so many options and variants within CoDriver (let alone variants of CoTracker and CoNav) that it’s impossible to give a generic price. Provide some information about your requirements and we’ll be able to give you an accurate quote. 

We will discuss pricing on a case by case bases in order to keep the public feeling safe and social distancing respected in this peculiar time. 

Thanks to Ignition for supporting this article. You can contact them via [email protected] or visit for more information.

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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