The Disruption of Shared Mobility in an Autonomous World by Jeremiah Owyang, Founder of Crowd Companies

autonomous cars and carsharing
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Ride-sharing and car-sharing will evolve when autonomous cars emerge.

Interestingly, autonomous cars are being birthed out of ride sharing platforms like Uber, Lyft, Didi, and other programs as they partner with car manufacturers or build their own fleets.

The future of mobility and self-driving vehicles is on the horizon, with on-demand business models of the Collaborative Economy setting the stage for this eventual “autonomous world.” When intelligent technology systems operate with minimal human participation in the application of driverless cars, both automakers and ride-hailing service providers face disruption.

On-demand access to transportation and carpooling services has grown significantly in recent years, with more than 11 million people in the U.S. utilizing ridesharing services today. By seamlessly ferrying customers from point A to point B at the tap of an app, Uber, Lyft, BlaBlaCar, and others are contributing to our increased preference of vehicle access versus ownership. In fact, many customers have already purchased the last car they’ll ever own.

When drivers are eventually ousted in favor of autonomous cars, riders will experience more efficient routes, increased safety, and reduced transportation costs (see figure below). Alphabet (formerly Google) and Uber are leading the way, currently working on and piloting their ride-hailing services that utilize a self-driving car fleet, while both Ford and GM are close behind on the automaker front.

But, both taxi and car services and traditional automakers will face disruption before any real opportunity impact.

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Taxis and Car Services

Disruptions: As more consumers own and carpool within autonomous vehicles, the need for traditional taxis, car services, and other on-demand transportation (ie. Uber, Lyft,) will decrease.

Impacts: Taxi companies, car services, and other ride-sharing startups will need to shift their business models toward managing self-driving car fleets. This will impact employment in these sectors, leading to heavy job loss among drivers without transferable skills. The tables turn as the ride-sharing drivers who once disrupted taxis find themselves disrupted by robotic adversaries.

Auto Manufacturers

Disruptions: The majority of major car manufacturers have already announced their self-driving car prototype (or plans), and many also have programs in place that address access and on-demand models like BMW DriveNow and Ford’s partnership with Getaround. As these prototypes are tested and refined, the traditional speed-to-market of car manufacturing will prove too slow, requiring a new process for innovation. Different skillsets will be required at auto manufacturing companies to meet the demands of customers demanding self-driving vehicles and new passenger experiences.

Impacts: Auto manufacturers will offer additional services to keep pace with evolving consumer needs, like insurance, safety, logistics, cleaning, navigation, and more. Piecemeal feature sets will be less important as cars are completely redesigned around an immersive, experiential customer journey. Car manufacturers must focus on talent acquisition and creating innovation centers capable of rapid prototyping to meet the speed at which customers expect autonomous innovation. The “car as a service” business model will become prevalent, as customers lease, rent, or summon the latest vehicle models on-demand.

So in summary, we’ll see a variety of business models and use cases that will emerge that will combine both the benefits of ride sharing, car sharing, and autonomous technologies in new on-demand models that will forever alter society.

Written by Jeremiah Owyang, Founder of Crowd Companies


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