• Tesla bootstrapping a ride service on the backs of buyers
• Waymo directly rolling their own fleet
• Uber trying to get a self-driving fleet up, burning mountains of money to maintain their "monopoly" on Uber for rides
• Lyft working with GM to get a fleet up
• All of the other car manufacturers trying to get autonomous vehicles going, presumably hoping for consumers to still want to own a vehicle rather than just pay $1 to get a ride
So: How much is Uber's market share worth? I suspect it'll evaporate overnight in every market where another service has autonomous vehicles and they don't.
Also: Private car ownership is going to fall off a cliff shortly after autonomous ride services arrive. Which probably means general demand for vehicles will fall off a cliff.
I predict blood on the walls.
I've seen this sentiment so many times now that I have to ask a serious question to anyone who echoes this sentiment:
Do you own a personal car right now? If so, why?
All of this... excitement over the transformations that self-driving vehicles will bring to the world of transit basically boils down to a model that's a mixture between taxi service and (really crappy) bus service, both of which exist today and have existed for several decades--and basically predate the automobile when you think about it. Yet somehow self-driving vehicles are supposed to completely change the mix of transit use when it's not really adding any capability changes. So I'm genuinely curious as to what the magic sauce is that makes people so giddy for this future.
They do, though, you just haven't been to places where this is standard. Try finding a place that's more than 10 minutes walk from public transit: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Warsaw,+Poland/
They have fricking helipad that takes them to the bus stop!
Except that they are not really cheap, safe, or convenient. They are not door to door. Public bus/trains run at their own scheduled time, not at my desired time. Even services like Uber involve humans who are more concerned about their profit than my schedule or preferences, so they cancel rides when I need them the most because some other ride is more profitable for them. Moreover in countries like India where road accidents are the highest in the world, rash and unsafe driving is a big problem (government run bus, car drivers or private ones). This can just wipe that out! So personally, I'm super excited about this future.
This is important to note. I'm on those margins, and have been saving for my first automatic car for ages. I live in a mildly rural community, and don't wanna wait for uber or whatever to deploy autonomous cars here.
Per the 2010 US census, over 80% of the US population lives in urban areas.
Here's a link to the definitions of urban and rural: https://www.census.gov/geo/reference/gtc/gtc_urbanrural.html
Here's the 2010 figures for the split between the urban and rural: https://www.census.gov/geo/reference/ua/urban-rural-2010.htm...
Taxi service exists, but the reliability factor is very poor right now (in that you call and you have to wait n minutes, where n sometimes is a very large number). I see Uber is rolling out a pre-scheduled service and I wonder how good this has been so far for the markets that have it. This would basically be the same thing only with human drivers.
I don't think this pattern works for rural areas and all situations. I also envision some nostalgia and/or tech discomfort keeping the car ownership pattern going for a while. Still, I am wondering if there are a lot of 2+ car families that would be in the same boat. Even drastically reducing the 2+ car families will drop vehicle demand.
We need a radically new car seat design, either:
1. Super portable and quick to install/remove, or
2. Built into the car, safe for all ages, easily extended/retracted.
eg. "I need a 4wd vehicle for 2 adults and 2 bikes to take me to X park at 10am tomorrow."
The cost savings for car rental are predicated on increased utilization. Increased utilization is predicated on each car having more people using it on any given day. And these things don't scale infinitely -- each car can only serve a particular locality.
The number of variations that you propose is a fast geometric progression. Kids 0-12 months or so need different car seats from kids 12mo to about 3y need different car seats for older kids. The idea that you could support high utilization on "I want a car that has already installed a carseat for a 1-2year old + a carseat for a 5 year old plus a bike rack" is nuts.
(Regardless, also, parents carry a mountain of stuff that's THEIRS. The heck with a car seat, I need board books, toys, snacks, and wipes in the car.)
Only if you're an engineer. To a marketing person, you bundle groups of features together and price them at various tiers.
And if the fleet can successfully meet arbitrary needs around constraints, then the fleet is going to be heavily overprovisioned, and thus expensive.
"4WD, Bike rack, Dog area" -> 4WD SUV.
You'll probably have to snap on your own accessories (kayak/ski/bike rack) when the vehicle arrives. Or if you order in advance, you can pay extra to have a specific accessory configuration prepared and set up for you (vehicle drives itself to local servicing point to get configured).
I would like that.
e.g. Customer orders a self-driving car with 1 infant car seat. A robot bolts-in a modular infant car seat at the depot and sends it off.
But I don't need or want to buy a wheel, batteries, cameras, lasers, etc. Those also should be upgraded as technology gets better but my box doesn't really need to be anything but a box.
So what if I could sit in my box and have a transporter thing come over and clip onto me and take me away? You could have child seats and I could have a lazyboy chair, or I might need 8 seats and you need storage space.
This would then let the actual transporters take other types of cargo too, rather than having a people vs items split. It would allow a pony-express style swapover rather than needing huge range in a single one. It would even allow completely different types of transport, what if my pod could just be clipped onto a big train and whip me to the other side of europe?
This would all likely have other downsides, but is a fun thing to think about.
TL;DR shipping containers
I really want to see a day, where I drive my car to work. It then drives other people around and picks me when I am finished.
You don't need drastically different car seat.
Even the ones for babies, that people for some reason I can't fathom like to carry around in the supermarket, are actually also 20+ lbs, you've just left 15 lbs remaining in the car occupying a seat while you're shopping. And they're also bulky.
2. could happen for children aged 4+ in a minivan-sized car. I've already seen it on some long distance buses. For younger kids however, they really need to sit facing rearward, but also must be well protect against side impacts, so it's very tricky to make something retractable that doesn't take a huge amount of space.
These are awesome because you can take your sleeping baby out of the car, carry them with you without waking them up, and put them back in the car without waking them up. Shopping is 10x faster this way than when you have to spend most of your time comforting/distracting an awake and fussy baby.
Can we apply some if this science for making car seats for taller people. I am so unhappy when seat ends midway of my thigh or shoulders ram into headrest (mostly airplane problem).
https://us.britax.com/car-seats/marathon-70/ (see specifications)
Those detachable seats you see mom's carrying in the supermarket weigh about 10 pounds, and the base will be about the same.
We have this one, which is what I'd consider the gold standard. It's ISOFIX, and only rearward-facing since kids under 4 should not be facing front, and it's won basically every test there is:
It weighs 40.6 lbs. Quite a bit of structural steel in there, including a full integral roll bar and a brace against being rear-ended, both of which your linked Britax seat lacks.
Also bloody expensive, but if there's one thing I won't skimp on, it's the safety of my children.
So maybe in Europe you are going to have a harder time with self driving cars because you need heavier car seats, but you'll probably find a workable compromise. Yu can just build your base into the center seat or something.
Would Ubering with something like this work?
Also, cost is another big factor. I would also assume that taking a self driving car would be a smaller expense than owning for the average user.
When human drivers are not required you have neither of these problems. It will be significantly easier for ridesharing companies to provide availability in non-dense areas.
Hell, they'll be able to control where these vehicles go by algorithm, so it will simply be a matter of adding more vehicles to their fleet and the algorithm will take care of minimizing response time for everyone.
Also, you can easily send a car from one city to another. A human driver needs to get home to their family. You can't just say "drive to Miami and work there for three weeks".
Also, simply decreasing the cost per mile by cutting labor costs makes further flung areas more accessible. You can't sell a $10 ride if it costs $10 just to pay someone to drive to the area and back. But if it costs $4 to send a car, that ride becomes financially viable.
And when self-driving cars are a viable option, insurance will strongly encourage it. And by strongly encourage it I probably mean "absurdly high fees for driving your own car", because people are much worse drivers. Which should drive up the price of car ownership significantly. The increased cost to car storage in populated areas will probably lag a long while behind, so the second cliff will be much slower to hit.
Safer options will, as they become available, be disproportionately chosen by the safety conscious. This can, potentially, make the less-safe legacy option more dangerous (per use) than before the safer option became available, because the safest users of the less-safe option before the new one are users of the new option afterward, and no longer bringing the average risk of the old option down.
Self-driving vehicles could be at your door within a 1 minute timeframe (say). That's a huge change, and will nullify the benefits of owning a car.
Of course, this will be possible because driverless taxi companies will have the logistics in place to make this happen (they know where every car is, and they can compute where to send empty cars to increase the capacity).
I can imagine that a cheaper service will offer the same but, say, in 5 minutes.
Also, you will never have to find a parking spot, which may be an even better argument.
Except I like owning my car. I can take it where I want. When I need it, I have it. I can leave my stuff in it if I want to (e.g. if I decide to go to the park for the day I can leave my coat in the car if it is warm). If it's pouring rain I don't have to wait, I can just get in it and go.
Not having to own, insure, maintain, or park a car. End to end transportation with no transfers that allows you to internet while you travel. Cheaper than human driven cabs (presumably).
Also, getting a driver has never been this easy. Taxis have existed for hundreds of years, but smartphones are a recent invention. There's a huge difference between calling a phone number and trying to setup a rendezvous than the current workflow on Uber or Lyft, that literally takes 10 seconds from the moment I unlock my phone.
I think the magic sauce is utilization. A fully autonomous car's utilization rate can be close to 100%.
Higher utilization --> same demand for mobility hours/miles can be satisfied with fewer vehicles --> ceteris paribus, fewer vehicles sold every year.
Viewed through this lens, it seems inevitable that, in equilibrium (ie once the non-autonomous to autonomous fleet transition is complete) annual per-capita demand for vehicles will be lower with the advent of fully autonomous cars.
So if every car is almost always at 100% how am I going to be able to instantly get a car on demand from my suburban mcmansion?
I believe people like owning things, and using them to do stuff. This is a basic fact of being human. Probably goes right back to the stone age. I doubt autonomous cars will change that pattern.
There are some objects we enjoy forming a relationship with. Your favorite kitchen knife. Your bed. Your sports car you take out on the weekend.
There are other objects we just want to work. Your running shoes. Your daily commuting vehicle. Your dish rack.
Of course it varies from person to person which items fall in which category.
There will always be a market for people who want to own and fetishize a car. The same way there is a market for people who want to own and fetishize their record collection.
But it is usually a smaller market than the market for people who just want convenient access to the thing. I.e. Spotify.
Which will be bigger, Spotify for mobility, or your neighborhood hipster automobile dealer?
The idea is that a subscription car service is likely to be significantly cheaper than owning your own.
I have a maid who does my laundry so I don't care about my washing machine anymore. I still cook so I want good knives, but if my maid were to start cooking I'd stop caring.
I don't own a car, but sometimes I rent one. And when I do I almost always pay 2-3x for a sports car because it's fun.
When I use Uber, I never pay for the upgrade to a nicer car. I'm just going to read or fiddle with my phone, so I don't care about the car at all.
I predict the exact same behavior for autonomous cars. And why would I pay $25k for a car when I can get the same thing for $1 a ride (and not have to worry about parking or maintenance or upgrades to new models).
Depending on the city, better might be faster, more available, less racist, less intense experience, cleaner, etc, etc, etc.
They don't need to be cheaper in most places, at least not yet.
There isn't a reliable taxi service or public transportation in most suburbs. Even if you have Uber in your town, it's much more expensive than owning/leasing a personal car.
I can't use Uber when I need to go to another town 50 miles away or 500 miles away.
Autonomous ride service could change that.
Imagine you leave your laptop at home... Just get your car to drive home, receive it robotically, and bring it to your location before your next meeting!
It would work just like Uber (even better), only you would own it. Every delivery company would be out of a ride the moment your car can go make restaurant pickups.
But how is this going to work? In cities, everyone uses their car at exactly the same time: roughly, between 8-9 in the morning and 5-7 in the evening. If you don't own a car, chances are you won't get one when you need it to get to work on time.
Or, if there are enough cars for peak hours, then demand for new cars will not fall that much (although the structure of ownership may in fact change).
Other things that could change is the need for infrastructure (at least in Europe); you don't need highways and high speed trains that much if speed of travel matters much less. If your car drives itself during the night and you can sleep comfortably in it (or read, or watch movies, whatever), then the length of the trip is not paramount.
Initially, no, but long-term you can move much parking to cheaper places around the periphery of the urban area rather than needing a parking spot where people live, one where they work, and fractions everywhere else they might go. So sustainable density of everything that isn't parking spaces in the city core goes up, walkability and transit access improve, so the cars/people ratio drops.
Ride sharing for rush hour would use a ton of compact vehicles. Even if the number of vehicles is the same to account for peak usage, the majority of the vehicles will be much smaller and much less capable, and therefore much less profitable for manufacturers.
As for "much smaller cars most of the time": not if you want to maintain the current safety level while also being able to travel faster than 20 mph.
Combine the two and you get a self driving car to central location > car or public transit to city center > self driving car in the city. Remember parking is often 10+$ a day due to land value, so two ~4$ trips can be a net savings.
Finally, even a 20-30% drop in demand would be huge in such a capital intense industry.
And can be more of a hassle or less conveniently located than a transit stop.
And then one day I realized some of the buildings were multi story parking structures and it kind of made me mad. So much of the city infrastructure is whored out to the needs of arrogant, obtuse car people, very much at the expense of everyone. It brings quality of life down and cost of living up for absolutely everyone because of people wanting the right to drive their own damn car everywhere, no exceptions.
And I stopped looking on them with pity or sympathy and started looking on them as parasites who totally deserved whatever small misery they were inflicting on themselves with driving around, looking for parking. But I did not deserve the misery they were inflicting on me with things like worse air pollution.
And faster. A lot of the traffic on highways is caused by rubbernecking, which self-driving cars are mostly immune to.
Don't think of it as replacing what historically was walking outside and hailing a cab, think of it as setting up a carpool with office mates except you don't have to know them, and you don't have to work out all the details, it will be handled for you.
Mass transit works well in dense areas because the vehicles are large and only need to go short distances or go long distance over a specific route. When everyone has their own custom route, person A's route may make person B's route unacceptably longer. Also, sitting on a bus/train with 50 strangers is less of an odd social situation than sitting in a car with one stranger.
Once autonomous cars get to the point where they don't require any driver attention at all, I think it will make ownership even more appealing since you could customize the entire to match whatever you want to do while you're hauled around.
Everyone has their own door as well so there isn't as much jostling past and touching and being touched by strangers even in a full car.
The only time I've ever taken an Uber or Lyft and I not have my own door and/or I've had to scoot past people is in large party situation and those other people were my friends.
I've talked to women and they seem to prefer an Uber or Lyft over taking the train and/or the bus. Also, being dropped off at your destination rather than walking a few blocks from a metro stop to where you are going also makes a massive difference.
The benefits really outweigh the drawbacks. Especially if this is cheaper than owning one's own car. In theory, a private automated car service (calling a car and being the only rider) would still be cheaper than owning a private car and still have the same conveniences. It's just that eventually it will basically just be 4x cheaper to share a ride.
Mass transit remains the most viable method of transporting people over dense, multi-mile terrain.
The last mile and "normal" metros like Memphis, Baltimore, or Cleveland, where it is not dense enough to justify a comprehensive subway/light rail system, are probably the best use cases for self-driving cars and universal car sharing systems.
There is at least one lane on either side of the road at full capacity. Always bumper to bumper. But, the cars do not move save 2% of the time when their operators remove them from the traffic jam, I mean parking spot. There are 275,450 streetside parking spots in San Francisco city limits. Assuming a pooling of some drivers, and an increased utility of roads due to size & traffic flow then we can look forward to a net decrease of cars on roads and a net increase of available land for expanded sidewalks and bike paths.
Rail mass transit does not as efficiently use the land it's on a occupancy basis (there's not always a train on a specific square foot of track). In peak times, cars are more efficient on a vehicle basis. According to BART system facts, there are 107 miles of track. There are 669 cars, seating for 72 in 448 of them with each being 70 feet (with 59 of them having an additional 5 feet for a cab), and seating for 64 in 230 cars (with an indeterminate car length, so I'll use the smaller listed), for a total capacity of 46,976 seated people. BART states that all cars can hold over 200 people in a "crush" load, so we'll assume 200 as the theoretical maximum, and say BART can carry 133,000 people when at peak (crush) capacity, and over the 107 miles of track, that gives us a density of 1,250 people per linear track mile, but with only 8.3% track utilization at any one time.
Cars do not as efficiently pack people per vehicle usually, but can more efficiently use the roads on a per-vehicle basis. Assuming very heavy traffic which is not stop-and-go, so perhaps 35 miles an hour average (the same as BART), and a 4-lane highway (two each direction), if each car is allowing two car lengths between itself and the car in front (slow traffic), we have approximately 33% road utilization (or 25%, or 20% depending on what you think the average space between vehicles is). Since carpooling seems to be at about 10% currently carpooling (ignoring that it may be different in certain arterial routes, as we are discussing), we have around 1.066 people per car as a lower bound. With an average car length of 177.2 inches, or 14.77 feet, we can estimate the people per mile on the highway during this time as being 604 people per mile of 4-lane highway.
Interesting take-aways for me:
While 4-lane highways may take more room than rail (not sure the actual sizes here), they are also more versatile.
If the highway bogs down below 35 mph, it's then less than the average rate of BART, and we need to start computing people over time instead of just people over distance.
BART has much more room to increase track utilization, but there is likely unaccounted for overhead here on each train. Optimal usage at current speed is one train arriving immediately after the prior one leaving, at 35 mph exact speed and 20 second stops, for a train of six cars (?) and 425 feet, that would be cars 2.42 train lengths apart, and a utilization of 29%, or roughly a 4x increase over current rates, 5,000 people per track-mile.
Cars have much more room to increase vehicle utilization. If we replaced 50% of vehicles with full size vans transporting on average 7 people each and didn't touch road utilization, we would be at an overall average of 4 people per car, and 2600 people per highway mile. Interestingly, if we somehow moved towards a system where smaller vehicles picked up and shuttled people with small amounts of sharing to bus-stations where they were sorted into smaller buses (40 people) going specific area depots, and from those depots dispersed again to final destinations using individual cars with small amounts of sharing, we might easily surpass rail transit systems. averaging 20.5 people per vehicle, but with somewhat more area used should put us close to 10,000 people per highway mile.
Of course, there's a lot of assumptions in all the numbers, and some speculation in the possibilities, but I thought it was interesting to figure out. ;)
2: I know the total car numbers don't add up. Complain to BART, it's their data.
3: (66970 feet + 695 feet)/(7 * miles * 5280 feet/mile) = (47125 feet)/(564960 feet) = 8.3%
4: https://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/acs-15.pdf, table 1.
5: 105,476 drove alone, 13,917 carpooled, if we assume all carpooling was just two people per car, we get person to car density by (105,476+13,917/2)/105,476 = 1.066 people per car
7: 5280 feet/mile / 14.77 feet/car * 0.33 highway mile utilization = 117 cars at highway lane mile utilization. 117 cars * 1.066 people/car = 126 people per mile of highway lane. 4 lanes fives us 604 people per highway.
I can't really think of any reason why one technology is inherently higher-capacity than the other, it's mostly that private cars are very inefficient, not rubber tyres.
An autonomous car system that supports easy ride sharing, and semi-public transportation through something like uber for busses can fulfill much of the same need, but without quite the expected density, but with the ability to deliver to just about any location.
Both would benefit from a last-mile service . Sort of like arteries and capillaries in the circulatory system.
Actually, you know what would be really cool with this? Autonomous bikes. Not that you need them to drive you, but that you can rent a bike and have it show up for you, or rent it at the bus depot/train station, and have it return after you've reached your destination.
Crossrail in London will have a train every 2.5 minutes with a capacity of 1500 people per train.
Trains also do not slow down to a crawl at high capacity.
People do it already to save money. Making it easier, and adding the ability to set up a standing appointment with the same people over multiple days would alleviate a lot of people's concerns, IMO.
> Lots of people still have relatively specific needs, e.g. requiring car seats of various sizes for their young children, needing to pick-up or drop-off kids at school, sports practice, etc.
Many families have two cars, purely because of the few times a day when both are needed at the same time. For example, I have a Honda Odyssey for family use, since I have three kids. I also have a cheap commuter that I lease, purely to get to and from work a few times a week, since I work from home a couple days. That's a car I could happily and easily remove from service with little impact, as long as I had a way to get to and from work.
> When everyone has their own custom route, person A's route may make person B's route unacceptably longer.
The idea is, with thousands of routes, you might find quite a few that overlap a significant percentage of the time. Compute what percentage each person is responsible for of the whole, subtract some portion of the route for the distance that's spent going to the other pickups/dropoffs that aren't on your path, and provide a a discount depending on how much you share. Use minivans and/or full-size vans if there are enough rides to maximize people, comfort and space. The carrier maximizes profit over people and vehicle wear over a ride, and the people minimize price.
> Once autonomous cars get to the point where they don't require any driver attention at all, I think it will make ownership even more appealing since you could customize the entire to match whatever you want to do while you're hauled around.
Sure, but that's a luxury use. People that drive luxury cars that cost a lot will undoubtedly do that. People that are trying to minimize cost so they can spend that money on essentials or even just other luxuries they value more will opt for the cheaper option. It's why people carpool now.
Why not just keep your partition up between you and the other passengers? Because no human driver needs visibility out all of the windows, you can split the car into private spaces. When no driver is needed, it opens up a lot of different configurations.
The self-driving vehicle needn't be a small car.
We can make many technological changes in the world. Some will be huge. However changes that rely on humanity not being social are just very unlikely.
Depending on the location there are 3-4 rush hours in the morning and 3-4 in the afternoon.
Potentially cheap enough to be a good compromise between current uncomfortable public transport, and owning your own vehicle (but unable to put the commute time to good use).
With that being said... I am also pretty doubtful. People like to own cars.
Good question. How the system deals with congestion. Two things:
1) Taxis make variable pricing possible, which gives markets an incentive to spread out demand. "Would you like a $15, 45 minute ride to San Francisco by 9:15, or $4, 25 minute ride arriving at 10:30?"
2) In big cities we'll start to see quick transfers to- and from- mass transit.
You'll push a button on your phone. The phone will say "Ride begins in 8 minutes to minimize transfer time". You finish your email, put on your coat and walk outside. A car picks you up, drives you to the transit center. You get out, walk across the platform, get onto a train. Train stops, you walk back across the platform into another car. It takes you to your destination.
Why? It will save you time in traffic if you care about, and it'll be cheaper if you care about that. Of course during off peak times, you can just take the cab the whole way for the shortest trip.
Have you ever been in a car?
I've gotten plenty of sleep in cars, but never has the word "comfortable" crossed my mind when I woke up afterwards. I reckon it's something about that whole annoying safety thing requiring you to sit still upright strapped to your seat that ruins the comfort factor for me. YMMV though.
The ones designed for slow night travel don't need to be air efficient, they could be shaped like a big square with almost real beds (like on a train).
It doesn't matter how slow and safe the autonomous car is, as long as it's traveling on the same roads as other cars, some of which are fast and driven by humans, crash safety is very much an issue.
* All the big auto manufacturers are shipping self-driving cars.
Volvo is the first to ship a Level 3 system to real customers.
* Tesla is doing OK, but the big electric car brand is Chevy.
* Waymo is a Tier I supplier to Fiat/Chrysler.
* GM and Ford are using their own self-driving technology.
* Uber is still around, but is out of investor cash, and has to be profitable to pay back its loans. The service is much more expensive to use. Their self-driving thing never works out for them because they can't spend big money to buy cars, build garages, and staff up for maintenance.
* Lyft is still around, about the same as it is now.
* The mini autonomous bus people have some installations, but they're rare outside airports and campuses.
Volvo have announced shipping that in 2017. I don't think anyone else has. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2q00jIBhkq4)
L4 basically says the car can drive itself without attention in most cases. Driver only needs to take over in extreme cases where the computer can't figure it out (something on the road blocking, sever weather, super abnormal situation).
I think people severely underestimate Uber's worldwide push in preparing themselves to be a force to be reckoned with when the autonomous vehicle takes off.
The reason I believe that it may collapse is because now when I want to buy something online I rather go to Walmart,Target or to the specific brand store. When I think of Amazon the picture that comes to mind is of shady people trying to scam me out of my money. My perception, even if erroneous, right now is that Walmart is less shady than Amazon when it comes to buying merchandize.
If enough people start to feel this way about Amazon there may come a tipping point and the entire company will collapse. Once the tipping point happens I don't think it will be possible for Bezos to reverse it, though he will spend mountains of cash trying to.
With Amazon the purchasing is seamless. That's where they really win. And they just keep making it easier. Now I can order things with my voice (using Alexa).
Of course, take everything I'm saying with a big grain of sand since this is all anecdotal. I've also purchased from Columbia Sportwear Store and some other brands that I do not remember right now. I guess so far I've been lucky.
Also, doesn't Amazon have unique defenses against this possibility? If sales suddenly fall off a cliff, Amazon has AWS and lots of B2B products that could keep them afloat for a time while they tried to recover. If people en masse decided to stop shopping at Walmart, they would have nothing to fall back on.
All they really need to do is curate their 3rd parties better. Problem solved.
That said, Facebook has a much larger network effect than Uber. The friction to create a profile and attend an driver orientation on a competing ride broker network is much smaller than telling your everyone on your Facebook friends list you're moving to Diaspora.
Why does Apple even allow apps to remove the "only when in use" option?
Also the tracking you for 5 minutes after a ride is completely unforgivable.
- Availability. Who has the largest network and highest availability?
- Car Design. Who has the most comfortable or fully featured cars?
- Safety. Who has the safest car? Who has the safest track record?
It might eventually become a race to the bottom, but I think there's still plenty of opportunity to compete on other fronts for at least the next five years.
It doesn't work, the water spray is not strong enough, or directed enough to remove the mud and sand. We still have to have people going round with water jets to spot clean. A have my doubts a fully automatic system could ever work effectively.
A car with a waterproof interior would be miserable and cheap feeling. No one wants to sit in a humid, rubber car.
Someone already had the domain registered the last time I checked.
Ediy: seems to also include ride sharing now.
You know how a person nowadays can register for uber and drive people around?
In the future, maybe people will register their CAR (which can drive itself). So they sit at home, getting work done, while their car is off autonomously driving itself and picking people up. When you want it to come home, just call it home.
Anyways, you wouldn't happen to have that announcement handy would you?
Anyone could spin up an app that let's people lease out their self-driving cars. The existing ride-sharing consumers are not loyal to the apps.
Until an optimized business supporting lots of cars supporting fewer people undercuts the individual owner on price per ride, sure. Uber with individual driver/owners makes some sense, because you need the individual driver no matter what the ownership structure is. But with autonomous cars, fleet ownership is going to win over individual.
Uber's network effect is its driver network. It will find it a lot harder to compete if you no longer need drivers, when it has to compete with real car companies that could be able to undercut them on cost.
I agree. The fact that autonomous cars will likely reduce ownership will put a squeeze on car companies, and it might make sense for them to branch into service areas, as they can get the cars at cost. I guarantee that for 10,000 Camrys purchased by Uber and 10,000 Camrys built and shuffled to a ride service division by Toyota, Toyota's ride-sharing division will get the sweeter deal on price.
Put another way, it's much easier for Toyota to start a ride service company than it is for Uber to start manufacturing cars to get them at cost.
Ah, but the car companies have already expended that capital. The problem here is they will have a lot of building capacity from all the factories they own, and possibly less to build with that capacity. There's nothing stopping them from buying extra needed capacity from another company, but in the meantime it may help them fill the lack of utilization they may see. At some point, some factories will need modernization as normal, and they can choose at that point to reduce factory capacity.
The point is that it's a possible strategy to get them from point A to point B when they've already banked heavily on certain future production trends if they've overestimated.
To succeed worldwide, they simply need to be as good as Uber, but cheaper. And if the capital cost of the car becomes half of the cost base of taxis, a 10% saving matters.
Toyota would have to prepare for worst-case load and let those cars sit idle to keep them available. And they'd have to do that in almost every city in the world or their app would just be another local annoyance.
Also, if you order a Toyota and a Ford shows up you're going to laugh and tweet it.
On the other hand, it does give them a stable production target which would level out manufacturing spikes...
That's the underlying assumption I was working with. If they've invested heavily in production yet they see a downturn in individual ownership, it's a way to capitalize on that resource (factories) to stabilize production until some factories reach end-of-life and have theoretically paid for themselves. Factories which require large capital expenditure are not something you want to see sitting idle. Every year is another year where the tooling is becoming more obsolete.
If car manufacturers tried to clone what Uber has built they'll probably flop on making the technology usable, and the experience may just be overall frustrating.
People will still buy Rolls-Royce or Mercedes S-class for the comfort, but most Toyota customers don't care if they're car pooling with 3 other people or sitting in a car that's not their own.
Furthermore, if there are a bunch of self-driving car services, that service will be commoditized the same way cabs are. These ride-giving services will [and kind of already do] only compete on price.
Uber's autonomous trucking model is likely to aid in the complete change of that industry, though.
Yes, Uber may have a global precense, but that's from burning VC cash and they're not exactly successful in major markets like China. And for what? Uber is essentially a messaging app between users and drivers, and their users/drivers are not loyal.
Uber as a self-driving company would need to sell hardware to drivers to convert their vehicles into self-driving cars, and I don't think they'll have the bank to get that far, especially against larger companies with deeper pockets and existing hardware experience/partnerships.
The rich are buying the future on the backs of the working class. When uber goes under, the jobs won't come back, but transit can't be that cheap. It's not like the cost of a ride was actually based on the cost of the car OR the labor.
I think ownership means more to most people than just convenience or being the cheapest option.
Otto was granted permission and began driving on actual highways in Ohio last week:
1 - http://www.reuters.com/article/us-uber-tech-volvo-otto-idUSK...
Head of the pack of dreams maybe. What does Uber have, in a tangible manner, right now? At least both Tesla and Google have real systems that are on the verge of full autonomy.
I know they gobbled up a bunch of researchers, but moonshot engineering feats like autonomous driving is not (yet) in their DNA. And their current business model is not profitable and will die the moment they go up against an autonomous service.
They don't need to be last to market to lose, they need to be first in order to survive.
Except for the fleet of Ford Fusions and XC90's covered in very nicely implemented custom sensor rafts http://theincline.com/2016/12/12/three-months-of-self-drivin...
Certainly some auto makers may choose to go down the route of executive assisted suicide and maximize shareholder (and executive) profit distributions in the process, as IBM decided to do. To pretend than the next 50 years will be like the last 50, I'm not sure how long that charade can hold up.
Personally I think Google and Apple are the ones who hold all of the chips. This definitely can be turned in to a commodity business with a few OS adjustments. There are some cards Uber can play to avoid this, like exclusive infrastructure agreements, although not really sure where that will be permitted geographically.
A more interesting question is will this look like smartphones where a single company gets 90% of the profits and the rest of the companies do huge volume but capture small to zero margins.
And a pox on all of us if we hand firm control over regions to single players.
I really dont agree with this. Cars a so cheap now and I'd much rather use my own than some dirty shared car.
Already renting a car is annoying as you never know if you'll get charged for some damage that you didn't cause, I can't imagine having the same issue every day.
Having the car drop me off then go away and autopark is something that I'd value though. :)
Over the medium term, this will only encourage ever more massive and distant suburb creep. Also, with longer commutes less tiresome, the negative cost of having a longer commute will be mitigated.
As for the stranger effect, there are many innovations on that front as well. Google is already has a working app that tries to arrange commutes for true ride sharing where passengers only compensate the driver for the pure cost of the ride. It's cheap and effective if you are a bit flexible in the morning.
I can see autonomous services being so cheap that they become the new corporate perk and companies find value by having employees ride together, share ideas, socialize, etc.
Also, the economies of scale alone would make a private automated car trip still cheaper than owning privately an autonomous vehicle.
The technology will move fast enough that the vast majority people will be switching from a human operated car to a self-driving car service. I can see the ad campaigns now. Basically showing people how much cheaper and safer and more convenient it is.
Cars can be seen like horses were before them, an expensive hassle that requires land for storage and usage. If you think about it, people have whole buildings just for storing cars, garages, like we did with horses, barns.
15 years from now suburbs will be built without garages and driveways. There will be a cottage industry for people to convert garages and carparks into more usable space.
20 years from now, multistory car parking lots will be the new conversion buildings like the old meat packing and textile plans that used to be in downtown areas that were turned into lofts. Polished concrete floors will feature the original parking space numbers. The open sides will feature panoramic views.
Lastly, having your own car will be a throwback element. People who like to 4x4 or work on their own cars (a huge market that might actually grow in the medium term) will fill this but, even then they'll use automated services to commute. The number of people who have hobby cars (off-roading, auto racing, vintage collectibles, restoration) will skyrocket because a car no longer has to be a daily driver.
Or people might care less about cars, I don't presume to know the complex of a future of human desire. But, in a world full of cheap cars that you driver yourself, automated car services will still create so much value that people will still switch.
IMHO this is the reason Trump won the election, because there is no plan for these people.
Most other demographics have very a different perspective on that concept, and for good reason.
There will be cataclysmic changes ahead if we don't seriously reconsider, well, everything about society. Under the current way of thinking, millions of people will get sent to the glue factory - to persist in your horse analogy here.
I have no idea how to solve this problem. My cousin's husband is a truck driver. He makes a six figure income running between Indy and Chicago (bang, bang). He's going to retire before they can get rid of him, but this is a huge issue.
I tried to explain this problem to my father, who's a CPA. I've pointed out that his firm can get by with a dramatically smaller office than it use to due to tech. Same's true for his lawyer friends. I pointed out that the law firms are not training the next generation like they use to since they use fewer low-level lawyers for research thanks to Lexus Nexus. Account is next.
I'm not a huge fan of UBI since I think that makes people slaves of their State. We've seen such enslavement in the US under welfare programs. We've set the program up to lock people in. If they try to get out, they will lose benefits (donut hole issue). I think UBI is like that, but worse.
When America will be able to shake off its own mythology about this notion of the "State" as an inherently bad actor - then, perhaps, America will be able to get out of the current rut it's stuck in.
Yes, the "State" can be bad (I should know, I grew up in an actual bad "State" in the Eastern Bloc before the revolutions). But at the other extreme, societies can sabotage themselves from within, trigger the social equivalent of an autoimmune disease, and collapse from endemic distrust in the system - which to me is pretty clearly the direction America is going now.
There surely is a better middle ground somewhere.
> And it will fall on that notion too if it fails to adapt to a changing economy.
I agree with both statements.
I'm not actually sure its a practical option, but I don't see 'enslavement' as being one of it's downsides - where's the 'lock in'?
In general I'm not a fan of going to the United States government hat-in-hand. Look at Scotland. They do that with the Brits. They're kicked around all the time.
Here's an example. South Dakota v Dole, the Supreme Court said the government could tie general funding to states to enacting state laws. In this case the states had to raise the minimum drinking age to 21 if they wanted road funding. What's to stop the government in a UBI world, from putting different life-rules on its people.
The government goes from working for the people to providing for the people. That's a massive power imbalance. I don't know of any government I want to give that power. I do know it's not the United State's.
The closest real problem I can think of is not being able to move to a $15/hr minimum wage city from a poor area because you don't have the starting capital to buy the basics there.
Bad policy structuring, because welfare programs are legacy programs and were designed when Economics was still in its infancy.
Also keep in mind that the welfare population is a minority. It's similar to the bank anecdote - if you owe the bank $1000, you have a problem, if you owe the bank $10,000,000, the bank has a problem.
When tens of millions of people in a country with gun ownership depend on UBI - any government structure that tries to reduce benefits or eliminate it will become a target of the masses.
The answer is of course the same as with any other reason people lose jobs and have done so in the past. It really is nothing new. Neither in scale, nor in severity.
Also, every state already has system to deal with that stuff. The hole point of a generalised systems is that you don't have a major political crisis everytime insert <big company or industy> suffers job loses.
That Trump won because of them is an assertion that is made often, but hard to proove or even show good evidence for.
Say initial cost of the electric self driving car is $50,000. It has life of 20 years. After 20 years, value will go to 0.
Per year: $2500
Service per year: $2500 (HN mechanics, is this reasonable?)
Miles travelled/ year: 50,000 (5x human utilization)
Miles/Kwh: 3 (based on tesla efficiency)
Avg electricity cost in US: 12c / Kwh
Cost to drive 50,000 miles: $2000
Total / year: $7000
Cost per mile: 14c / mile
Average trip length: 7 miles
Cost per trip: 98c (very close to $1)
I think this is definitely possible.
Not for electric self driving cars which optimize for safety and wear and tear. They have less moving parts too.
There are plenty of trucks, buses and taxis that have done a million miles in 20 years.
Uber hasn't demonstrated a capacity to succeed, but unlike their rivals, they need self-driving cars to succeed for their company to succeed. The CEO has called self-driving cars "existential" to Uber.
Contrast this with Google. Self-driving cars are an expensive hobby to Google, and completely inconsequential to the success of their core business.
1) It will take atleast 5-7 years for self-driving cars to become ubiquitous. Till then there is good uprising market for every player to make money. secondly, if you have a product ready, it might open up new markets in future which currently no one realizes.
2) Car ownership will still be there. People who can afford it will still prefer private self-driving car than waiting for Uber/Lyft. I would say self-driving private car will be seen as a new luxury status.
3) car manufacturing will definitely go down with less demand but car manufactures will venture into different pricing model with ride companies. Right now, a car is a one time sell for a manufacturer. It might be subscription which ride company uses.
Now we actually have working software and hardware, and real people are experiencing self driving. I live in the bay area, but not a month goes by that I don't see a self driving vehicle at some point. And that's not counting the Teslas that are autopiloting their way down the highway next to me that I don't even know about.
Maybe my negative feelings are excessive; I'm just really, really tired of having people jump in with the whole "but self-driving cars will change everything!!!" routine every time people try to have a serious conversation about public transit investment.
And also there is Uber's self driving fleet. They are actually taking people from place to place who use the Uber app in a self driving vehicle.
In all cases someone is still at the wheel, but they aren't doing anything other than monitoring and logging the ride and cases where the car didn't behave like a "normal" driver.
The problem is people expect self-driving cars to be perfect on day one. They won't be. But they are already safer than humans driving.
Safe driving is one of the most complex things done by people. If tech companies are good enough to solve that, there many things more profitable and easier to solve.
I beleive it will be more realistic for them to develop seprate and exclusive infa for these vechiles. We can then plan rest of the things around that infra.
Integrating self driving cars into current infra will require a true AI or something closer.
There are already autonomous Ubers taking people around Philadelphia and now San Francisco.
What limits do you think will exist?
Or, if everyone has a self-driving car of their own (or one that can be converted to self-driving), people will rent out their cars AirBnB-style when they aren't using them. I mean, why not? You've already got a garage, a driveway, etc. Might as well make a few extra bucks with your vehicle...
Uber drivers at first were mostly just driving in their spare time, but over the years the professionals came in and crowded them out.
The lesson here is that it takes work to provide a level of service that consumers are willing to pay for. That work is best done through organization and professionalization. Some guy renting his car out during the work day isn't going to find it profitable enough to continue doing when he has to compete against dedicated on-demand rental services.
It's like you're saying I shouldn't bother with my zero effort $100-a-month passive income just because somebody else is making $200-a-month with higher margins.
Is that crowding out supported by any data?
Heck, why have driveways? In cities, at least, I could fully imagine new townhouse developments operating more like apartment buildings: one central parking lot for the "pool" of (mostly) driverless cars. Your car drops you off at your door and then parks in the pool; then comes back out to get you in the morning.
* A large percentage of people will want to have their own car because they don't want to put up with the occasional hassle of unavailability of rental cars during a peak time, and/or occasional long waits for the car to reach them (particularly when they are being picked up in un-dense areas). And before you hand-wave this away, note that the more of a cost advantage you give to rental cars (ie, the higher the utilization of those cars), the more of a disadvantage cost/wait time will be.
* People -- and very especially families with children -- also value cars as a mobile depot for their stuff. If you have kids of certain ages, this is practically a necessity. I definitely am not going to screw around with not just a carseat but like a dozen books and snacks and wipes and cups and so forth every time I get into/out of a rental car.
* Then cleaning and status and all the other things that people regularly bring up here.
* To address the mobile depot use case, I've heard of proposals to have storage areas (possibly trunk, but not necessarily) that are only accessible by the owner, not by renters. Even that may not be perfect though, I do see your point.
Is there a sweet spot where you still experience significant cost reductions but the inconvenience is small enough that you don't mind it? Well, certainly, for some people! But I think the number of people is going to be a lot smaller than many commentators think.
(The only cases I see where there's no increase in the rides-for-hire business after full automation is if the cost of cars drops to the point where there's very little incentive to try to reduce the costs for most people. Given that cars are quite expensive now, that seems unlikely. I can construct a scenario, but you basically have to believe that, first, the additional cost for driverless sensors+software is very low, second, that driverless software is so safe that you can drastically decrease physical safety features on cars, and third, probably that automation drives significant GDP growth).
It's not that hard. For one thing, you don't need to increase the price much, you just need to increase it a little so that you push cost-over-everything riders out of the queue. There are enough of those that whatever capacity is left should be plenty.
And you are worried those riders who were pushed out of the queue will go back to car ownership, but they are by definition cost-over-everything people, so of course they won't do that. If they could afford to own a car they could afford peak pricing.
My point is that millions of them already exist, with a distributed network of roads leading to them, as well as storage (garages). It would be costly to suddenly rip all those up.
I am not from U.S. but the experience I have had with using local air travel (with Southwest) in the U.S. I am prepared to caffine up and drive up to 400mi rather than bother with the hassles of flying. (I have done that a few times and found it quite enjoyable, maybe there was a novelty factor to it)
Having the right car helps: trips made in my almost-busted Honda Civic were much less enjoyable than the ones in my brand-new-custom-ordered Mini Cooper. :) The right soundtrack, the right weather, and the right caffeine vehicle are major factors as well.
A fleet would be able to handle these sorts of things better.
So far sharing economy companies don't want to vertically integrate their whole service stack down to physical goods. It requires capital raising, and is low margin compared to the value that they provide by scaling their main services. Maybe they will once they've achieved full market penetration and are struggling to increase their profit, but that's decades away IMO.
I suspect the typical case will be a drunk person throwing up in it on the way home. Hopefully they self-report; if they don't, it comes to the next rider to report it, who does and gets a generous reimbursement, charged to the credit card of the last rider.
In a cooperative environment, bad players bring everyone down. In competition, they drown, and only the strongest survive.
bold prediction: They won't have fully autonomous cars.