1616: James Hardiman

James Hardiman is an investor at Data Collective VC. He subscribed to FoT in December 2014.

1) What change do you want to see in the world of mobility by the end of 2016?

I would like to see more clarity brought to regulation around autonomous vehicles. The regulations will determine how quickly they will transform mobility. As an investor I think I can council my companies to look at how regulation has played out in other industries being transformed by technology and to apply those learning to the conversations they should be having with regulators.

2) If you had to drop everything right now and build something that had the greatest impact on mobility, what would it be?

There are a number of technologies on the horizon that will dramatically change mobility. In my opinion, the two biggest changes will be brought by autonomous vehicles and immersive VR.

Autonomous vehicles will allow us to reduce the costs associated with transportation. Vehicle ownership itself may go away if a fleet of low cost, autonomous vehicles enables cheap, on-demand, point-to-point transportation in which the rider only pays slightly more than the fully loaded cost of that ride. Intelligently subsidized by local governments, such a system could also replace traditional public transit options as well. As the cost of transportation changes it will change where we decide to live and how we transport goods.

Though likely even farther out in the future, immersive VR will allow us to rethink what it even means to be mobile as the world becomes digitized and increasingly accessible from a headset. The considerations that drive some of our decisions on where to live (proximity to work, family, and transportation hubs) become less important when information economy workplaces can exist virtually and we can see our family — regardless of their physical location — in a virtual world increasing indistinguishable from reality. This will increase our ability to live and work from anywhere and reduce our need for transportation all together.

If I had to drop everything tomorrow and build something with the greatest impact on mobility it would be the technologies that will enable autonomous vehicles and immersive VR to become a reality.

James Hardiman Bio
James is a Principal at the early stage venture capital firm Data Collective. Data Collective invests in entrepreneurs working on hard big data problems across multiple sectors, including, but not limited to, healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and logistics. James holds a BS in Engineering Physics from the University Of California, Berkeley, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School Of Business.

1616 is a compendium of ideas from 16 FoT subscribers about our near-term mobility future. You can read all 16 entries here; you can sign up for FoT here.