Driverless Cars are Going to be More Than Just Cars

During my Monday morning commute, I’d love to take a driverless vehicle that includes a spinning class.

On Friday evening, I’d love to take a four wheel drive driverless shared vehicle to Tahoe for skiing.

And if I weren’t already married, I’d consider getting into a match-making driverless vehicle during happy hour on my commute home from work.

These may seem like really farfetched ideas, but auto makers and technology companies entering the driverless vehicle space will need to consider more than just the technology and regulations; they are going to need to differentiate their services. People will not care if they’re hailing an Uber or a Lyft or a Ford vehicle….they will care about the price and speed of the trip, but they will likely also consider the following kinds of service differentiators:

  • Comfort of vehicle (seat comfort, proximity of other people, music selection and volume, etc.)
  • Vehicle amenities (car seats, wheelchair accessibility, desks/tables, tv screens, etc)
  • Vehicle entertainment services (coffee/bar service, exercise options, doctor’s appointments,…the options are endless!)

We’re starting to see signs of this differentiation already today…Uber offers the ability to customize your music choice during your ride (source). Lyft offers its “Lyft Premier” service for people who want to “arrive in style.” And a company called Strack Transportation is offering chauffeured transportation services in Teslas in southern California (source).

We’re also starting to hear about what’s coming…Mercedes-Benz has stated its interest in providing a robotic limousine service (source). Panasonic’s technology inside the Chysler Portal includes facial recognition to provide preferred music, an acoustical bubble around each person, and connections to smart home set-ups (source).  And, of course, all aspects of payment will be integrated, as shown in this article on “Mercedes Pay.”

Driverless vehicles will surely become big money-makers via services. Would anyone like to put their requests in now for their ideal driverless vehicle service?

About Lauren Isaac

I am the Manager of Transportation Sustainability at Parsons Brinckerhoff. Recently, I won the William Barclay Parsons fellowship for my research proposal to study how the United States government should respond to driverless cars. As I'm working on my research, I thought this blog would help to disseminate my findings and provide a forum for feedback.
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3 Responses to Driverless Cars are Going to be More Than Just Cars

  1. Ken Pyle says:

    Loren, good for food for thought as to what we might do in these new living spaces. A few years ago, a Viodi View reader, used his imagination and published a top-10 list, which included versions of autonomous vehicles that he called “shopping mall”, “business meeting” and “tea-time”. I won’t mention his final idea, as this is a G-rated blog, but you can find his article at:

    http://viodi.com/2014/06/12/the-autonomous-vehicle-and-what-it-means/

    Like

  2. Maxim says:

    Different thought. But have to agree with you totally. I will love to ride a driverless car as well.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Do We Really Need to Own Driverless Cars? | Driving Towards Driverless Cars

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