My interest in the future of the automobile industry is no secret to those who know me best. I touched on these interests in a blog entry back in 2014 that is starting to feel a little bit dated. I wanted to get my thoughts out again, especially following Intel’s recent purchase of Mobileye.
Every day driving around Pittsburgh, I see the future of cars in the form of Uber’s self-driving Volvo test vehicles. It has me thinking about the business model that cars exist in today and how that might change in the future.
I’ve debated this idea with friends for the last couple years, but I’d love to get it out into the open. Sometime in the next 50 years (I’m not sure exactly when) owning a car will be a fairly rare thing. The business model of tomorrow won’t be about car ownership for most people, but rather subscription access to a vehicle on demand. With how much safer and in theory how popular self driving cars will get to be, ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft will need to spend time learning fleet management in the same way that current rental car companies like Hertz and Avis do it today.
You are seeing automobile companies try to create partnerships with Uber and Lyft, since they may be the first ones to move over to this different model. Lyft’s partnership with GM is less about GM looking at today and more about GM wanting to be the first one ready when Lyft starts to working with its own fleets of vehicles.