While much of the talk about driverless and connected cars is taking place in the U.S., the trend is global. Countries in Europe, like Germany, have made it a top priority. Countries in Southeast Asia and nations like China are also quickly designing a regulatory environment that can support the growth of such initiatives.
However, some regions in the world are not yet suitable for driverless cars. India, for example, currently lacks the sufficient infrastructure. In fact, one expert recently commented that India’s road signs are considered mere suggestions or even decorations. In these types of developing areas, we’ll likely see widespread adoption of modern mobility services like Uber, Lyft, and Zipcar before those areas venture into driverless.
According to Lior Ron, co-founder of Otto, cars are not used 96% of the time. When they are used, they spend one to two hours a day in traffic. Outside the U.S., in Paris alone, 2.3 million cars stand idle in parking spaces for almost 23 hours a day. For the rare occasions on which they’re actually used, they convey an average of only 1.3 passengers per trip.
The opportunity for mobility services, such as those offered by ridesharing companies, to thrive on a global level is very high, especially in more developed cities. According to a 2016 working paper titled “Disruptive Change in the Taxi Business: The Case of Uber,” published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, in Los Angeles, for every mile a taxi drives with a passenger in the car, it drives a mile and a half empty. For every mile an Uber drives, it drives half a mile empty.
With mobility and ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, the utilization rate of cars is greater and fewer cars are needed on the road. This results in a cleaner environment and other benefits, such as the need for fewer parking garages.
Additional evidence of the excitement behind mobility services can be seen through the investment Toyota is putting into a new partnership with Uber.
“Ridesharing has huge potential in terms of shaping the future of mobility,” said Shigeki Tomoyama, senior managing officer of Toyota Motor Corporation and president of the Connected Company. Emil Michael, chief business officer of Uber, stated, “We’re excited that Toyota, the largest automobile manufacturer in the world, is making a strategic investment in Uber as part of a broader global partnership. Toyota vehicles are among the most popular cars on the Uber platform worldwide, and we look forward to collaborating with Toyota in multiple ways going forward, starting with the expansion of our vehicle financing efforts.”
In a new guide, we explore the industry’s interest in and movement toward autonomous and connected cars. You can download it here.