The car industry has evolved! That’s undeniable and it’s still happening right now!
Already by 2020, the first semi-autonomous cars will be accessible to all. Self-driving tests are currently held in Europe and in the U.S to make sure these first driverless vehicles will be ready by then. Even if the possibility to encounter fully-autonomous cars on our roads is not exactly by 2020, but more or less by 2050.
We have to get prepared, because self-driving cars will arrive, and beyond more safety they will bring other changes regarding the way we conceived cars as transport modes so far.
The way people will engage with cars and vice versa will change. A study by the Institute for Business Value, called “A New Relationship – People and Cars”, shows this increasing interest of people for self-driving cars. After analysing the opinion of 16.000 consumers in 16 countries on how they expect to use cars in the next decade, 3 elements appear: first, car ownership is not a necessity anymore. 42% are interested in subscription pricing and 24% in fractional ownership of cars; secondly, cars won’t be the primary mode of transportation. Especially for younger Generations X and Y where only half consider cars as their primary mode of transportation; finally, cars’ technology will correspond to the needs of their drivers. Car makers will pay particular attention to match a car with a specific type of user. In this perspective, understand the way drivers user their car’s tech is crucial for car makers to develop the appropriate tech for autonomous cars.
What is also crucial for car makers is who’s going to be the first to win the race of the driverless car in the market. In this game, the car industry has to process to strategic alliances and re-configure its “priorities”.
Today, the concepts of “car maker”, “tech supplier” and “mobility provider” are becoming identical. Apple and Google are definitely in the race of putting self-driving cars in the market by 2021 at the latest. Tesla is considered an EV car maker as much as a tech company. The Tesla Autopilot is one of the most developed autonomous systems at this point and Tesla relies on Israeli company Mobileye to improve it. Toyota acquired software firm Jaybridge Robotics to work on its autonomous cars. GM acquired Cruise’s tech for $1 billion to develop further its self-driving vehicles. Its semi-autonomous Chevy Bolts are expected in 2017. Nissan works with NASA, until 2020 (which coincided with the arrival of the first self-driving cars), to establish “safe” autonomous drive systems. FCA and Google will test their self-driving tech with 100 Chrysler Pacifica minivans. At the same time, VW’s new strategy for 2025 presented by Matthias Mueller, CEO of Volkswagen AG, reveals that the car maker is shaping “into a mobility provider” and Ford’s Executive Chairman Bill Ford spoke about the future of the automotive industry at Detroit Startup Week in Detroit, U.S., on May 23, where he indicates partnerships between the car industry and Silicon Valley tech companies are central to develop autonomous cars. Porsche also aims to become a leading digital mobility provider in the premium automotive segment. For Porsche CEO, Oliver Blume, fast decisions are capital in this evolving digital environment.
“Shared Mobility” is also changing the car and fleet industry’s basis. The number of car sharing startups and car makers providing ride sharing solutions has not ceased to increase. GM partnered with second largest ride-hailing U.S. company Lyft for $500 million. Also, GM has a personal mobility brand dedicated to car sharing: Maven. Which is available in the US in Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, New York City and Michigan. BMW with Sixt has more and more users for DriveNow. Car2go by Daimler keeps expanding globally. Toyota has a deal with Uber to “discover new ways to provide safe, easy-to-use and attractive mobility services” as says Shigeki Tomoyama, manager at Toyota. FCA is also in talks with Uber. VW will put £300 million dollars into the taxi app Gett. BMW i Ventures invested possibly $5.1 million in carpooling app Scoop in order to expand Scoop’s services outside California. Ford Smart Mobility LLC, a new subsidiary dedicated to design, build and invest in New Mobility Services. While Apple's investment in Didi Chuxing, a Chinese company providing vehicles and taxis for hire, indicates besides self-driving “shared mobility” is a main preoccupation for the tech giant too.
Humans seem to be more and more favorable to the idea of sharing a car or sharing a ride with a colleague to get to the office, to the train station or to a business meeting. The car becomes not only autonomous, but mostly it becomes a mode of transport among others. The era where mobility budgets get unceasingly popular among company employees is here!
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