The Passenger Economy — The Greatest Economic Opportunity of Our Time

Ride-sharing — the foundation of the Passenger Economy — has given us a glimpse into what the future holds for those of us who have spent far too much of our lives driving vehicles.

Having used ride-sharing apps regularly for the last five years, I have found that the way I now travel — ride-sharing — has impacted the quality of my life much more than would be readily apparent.

Yes, I am relieved of the exasperation of driving in bumper-to-bumper LA or Bay Area traffic, but the benefits go far beyond this for me. Ride-sharing has enabled me to use the previously wasted time to make calls, read, and catch up on communique with clients, colleagues, family, and friends.

And this is but a harbinger of things to come: the time is approaching when people will turn the keys over to autonomous vehicles. Commuters will be able to sit back and enjoy the ride, stress-free (except maybe for those client calls!).

Imagine a World without Road Rage

In recent years, technology has paved the way for one of the greatest economic opportunities of our time, this Passenger Economy. Most automobile manufacturers are promising an autonomous car by 2020. This has created opportunities for new apps to be developed and new hardware to be engineered and manufactured that will enhance and drive the autonomous vehicles. Economists predict an $800billion economy in 2035 and a scale up to $7 trillion by the year 2050. That is a lot of money to fathom, isn’t it?

A few months ago while attending CES in Las Vegas, I got a taste of the future of the Passenger Economy as I sat in on a VR demo that Deloitte had set up at their CES exhibition booth. I sat in the VR seat, put on the headset, and the program began. I was given access to all the new “car-veniences.” My tentative schedule appeared on a screen, I was able to take a call, join a meeting, watch news reports, order groceries, make a dinner reservation, play a brief game, and check local entertainment calendars. This experience was nothing short of breathtaking.

With the prospect of autonomous vehicles becoming commonplace, with personalized content intake, delivery, and experiences for each passenger, the Passenger Economy is poised to be a significant player in the monetization for the first phase of this new mode of transportation.

The arrival of the Passenger Economy will fuel a safer and more competent world. And also save years of our lives not having to contend with the insanity of driving in gridlock!