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Penske PUMP

A future strategy for Penske Truck Rental.

* This project does not reflect the view of Penske & Synthetic Sensors

While we are seeking solutions to live more simply and downsize, the way we manage our household and personal goods has hardly changed. Penske PUMP is a home logistic service to smartly tidy up what we own, and circulate what we no longer use to others or recycling facilities.


PUMP is a re-branding of Penske’s moving truck rental service. After immersing myself in the ecosystem of self-moving, I quickly realized most of the pain points of DIY moving are rooted in the user’s daily habit of storing their goods. For Penske to become a leading company in this space, providing a successful truck rental service is not enough, they need to resolve the muddled practice of how people organize their stuff.

Grounded by field research, the project connected critical insights with macro trends and market analysis to develop a strategy for Penske to help their self-moving consumers adapt to the challenges of future living, where the cost of energy and space of our living environment will overweigh other expenses.

Leveraging the company’s strengths in fleet management, this project proposes a service to keep track of household/personal belongings, and routinely handled items that are no longer used, in real-time.

Research Process

I focused on understanding the project in three key aspects:

Penske Truck Rental 

What is the business opportunity for Penske to leverage its service specialties and break through the stagnant industry of consumer truck rental? 

Self-Moving Users

What behavioral insights create obstacles, yet leave users no choice but to use a truck rental service to move?

Macro Trends

What trends relate to forecasting future needs for this industry?

User Research:

Obstacles to Keeping Track of Belongings and Handling Waste in Everyday Life.

I interviewed self-moving users and documented their user journey to understand:

• Who is using the service and why?

• What are their methods from planning, packing to unpacking?

• What are the pain points and causes?

No better alternative than leaving on the street.

Finding a secondhand buyer for unwanted large items is time-consuming. The cost to transport this stuff to buyers or recycling facilities isn’t worth the ride. It’s a norm to toss these bulky items on the street.

Macro Trends:

Future Living, Personal Wellbeing, Ubiquitous Connectivity

To get a comprehensive picture, I researched emerging trends across society, technology, economy, environment, and politics.

Urban space has one of the fastest-growing demand and cost. People have the desire to function with fewer things. The integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) has become even more ubiquitous.

The future of the self-moving industry is impacted by urban growth, personal wellbeing, and the progression of AI and advanced automation.

How can Penske provide products that align with these future changes?

The architecture of future living

With urban space in high demand and the stress of energy cost, there’s urgent need to rightsize your portfolio at the right time, reducing wasted space, energy and maintenance.


I distilled the interviews, research, and key insights into this persona of a young couple, Christian and Kyra, who live in a compact house.

resolve the obstacles to manage belongings

The Opportunity

SWOT, user archetypes, and market analysis were conducted to pinpoint Penske’s strengths. I synthesized insights from users, trends, and the market to identify the opportunity for Penske Truck Rental.

adapt to future living

Penske's comprehensive experiences in truck management.

DIY-movers struggle with tidying up their home routinely because of the complexity of keeping track of their personal/household goods.

For the next few years, they are going to face the challenges of urban growth where rent and the cost of building energy will be their highest expense. To live in a compact space comfortably, users need to declutter their home regularly.

Penske Truck Rental can leverage the company’s strengths in logistics and warehousing to provide a proactive solution to manage and declutter their living environment.

Solution: The PUMP Service

PUMP is a platform and a hub to automatically monitor consumer’s belongings, actively handle items that are no longer used, and provide on-demand storage for things that are occasionally used.

Like our heart which pumps blood through vessels and removes metabolic waste, this circulatory service assists consumers to manage their belongings and tidy up their living environment.

Your Space

Step 1. Monitoring what you have.

A real-time inventory keeps track of user’s household and personal belongings.

Step 2. Circulating what you don’t need.

Notify and handle items that are no longer used.  


Step 3. Accessing what you need on occasion.

(8–15 years)

Driverless on-demand logistics and flexible self-storage for items users only need to access occasionally.

On-Demand Storage

Penske PUMP user

The PUMP hub

The PUMP platform



A hub for monitoring household goods: General-Purpose Sensing + Machine Learning

Synthetic Sensors is a technology capable of capturing complex environmental context while mitigating immediate privacy issues. Complemented with machine learning, this technology can recognize various environmental events that are happening in the room.

Training the system on data of objects and their relationship with respective rooms, this technology enables PUMP to build an inventory of household and personal goods, and keep track of their locations and status.

Hardware components:

Synthetic Sensors circuit board

EL light indicator



Top & bottom housing/Fasteners

Real-Time Logging Household Items & Personal Belongings.

Personal inventory is updated through the hub in real-time. A new item is registered in the PUMP system once an order is placed. This hub will then follow up on the location and current status after the user puts the item in the house.

Intervene Your Purchasing and Organizing Habits.

The database of personal/household goods is synced with user’s devices. It notifies users when they are purchasing stuff they already have, and gives suggestions when users are putting their stuff in a random place.

Lighting Interface: Cluttered Warning

Notify user to declutter.



The Declutter Service

PUMP identifies items  no longer use.

1. Select unneeded items

2. Confirm handling methods: reuse/recycle

3. Schedule with Penske to pick up

4. Decluttered.

Prototyping Process

Physical Prototype

Exploring how the physical interface communicates “cluttered/un-cluttered.” Size and structure are determined by the components that go inside the hub.

A scaled model of the compact house was also created to understand how the PUMP system could be implemented in the future living environment.

Digital Prototype:

Initial Flow


Digital Prototype:

Paper Mockup

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