Yesterday, I attended the Southern California Live Ride Share conference. This event convened national leaders in shared use mobility (e.g., car sharing, bike sharing, ride sharing) – representing the public and private sector. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the question of how driverless cars were being thought about in this arena was asked not once, but multiple times during the day. I was not surprised by the fact that many of the leaders are thinking about it, but that was (seemingly) the extent of it (or at least what they’re willing to admit in this forum!).
In an ideal world (says me), people will no longer own personal vehicles – they will rely solely on driverless vehicles that can become available to them at the click of a button (or voice recognition or some other technology). The driverless vehicles will transport them to their destination and then move on to their next passenger or package delivery (or both!). Parking needs will be minimized and the ride will be an experience…not just a task.
I am amused by the fact that this industry is in its infancy and yet people recognize that the car and ride sharing services provide an ideal foundation for the driverless car industry. While many of these start-up companies are just trying to get established, they are being asked about how they’re planning for driverless cars. Similarly, the government is still trying to figure out how to regulate these services and even integrate them with public transportation. Everyone’s trying to keep up!