Future of Cars

At an automotive conference people were talking about how cars were changing. Then someone brought up the elephant in the room. It is likely that people won’t buy cars in the future, just rent them when they need them and they will be self driving. It will be almost like having a limousine at your beck and call. I wonder what that will do to car prices and limo prices?

Dramatic Changes Ahead

The auto industry is going to change dramatically over the next 10 to 20 years. More than at any time except perhaps the very beginning. This change might rival that. Cars will become self driving. You will be able to read a book, get work done, relax.

Presumably the car will be interconnected so it will know when there is traffic or road closures ahead and take a different route. GPS units are already basically doing this today.

But the biggest change will be ownership. Most of the car companies are assuming that at some point in the not too distant future, most people won’t own cars. Whenever they need one, they will just use their cell phone to call one to pick them up, somewhat the way Uber and other services work today. A driverless car would arrive and text or call your cell phone to let you know that it is there.

Will Professional Drivers Be Needed?

There are still plenty of places a human capacity for problem solving may be necessary to get through narrow spaces, especially for trucks dealing with tight places to turn around and deal with loading docks, etc.

How will this affect taxi cabs and limousine services? There is a good chance that taxi drivers will be out of a job. It is possible the Uber or possibly even the car companies will have a fleet of driverless vehicles. Cab companies could do the same thing. It will probably only work with consolidation though. It will be the end of small independent cab companies.

Limo companies are likely a different story. Part of the experience is having the chauffeur there, opening doors and helping people. The car may drive itself, but there will still probably be a need for chauffeurs. Will the pay go down? Will you need a drivers permit to be able to use a car the drives itself? If so, you could hire anyone to be a chauffeur.

Who will dominate the market and how?

So, the big question who will own and service these fleets of cars? Will it be GM and Ford and the others? Or one of the leasing companies? Or Tesla? Or Google? Or some new company? There are so many possibilities. It will be interesting to see who dives and and takes control of the market.