Let me put on my prediction hat for a minute. Over the next 10 years, our mobility will see profound changes. We will not own cars anymore. Instead, we will call a car, it will arrive and take us to where we want to go, then it will go on to do something else. In case we own a car, we might opt to let it earn money for us while we don’t use it. Everything that’s going on today points to that future. And to a lot more.
There are two of the main drivers behind what I expect to come:
- Electrification – We are in the middle of a dramatic infrastructure ramp-up, charging networks expand their number of stations, car manufacturers are building networks, some interoperability efforts are in the making. Even the die-hard petrol-heads are coming around. Just one example: Porsche who poo-poo-ed electric cars for almost ever now plans to make 50% of its production electric within 6 years. And if you own a diesel or petrol car today, you might have a hard time selling it in 5 years. This development is exponential and it’s only speeding up.
- Autonomy – Cars are on the verge of driving themselves. Currently still on Level 1 and under constant driver supervision, but pretty soon they will ascend to Level 3 (“eyes off”) and Level 4 (“mind off”). Initially those will be geofenced, e.g. it will be fine to sleep while driving long stretches on the Autobahn, but you’ll have to take over on other types of streets. But given the current pace of progress, Level 5 (“wheel optional”) is already on the horizon. As soon as this is achieved, you can send your car to pick up your kids from school or let it chauffeur other people while you don’t need it around.
Today’s cars are among the least efficient and resource wasting objects we own.
- they sit in parking lots for most of the day
- in traffic jams and stop-and-go traffic they idle a lot
- numbers indicate that up to 30% of the space in our cities has to do with parking
Getting off the old way of doing things has the potential for profound impact on more areas that we can imagine.
Here are a few from the top of my head:
- Transportation of goods (a lot fewer drivers required)
- Transportation of people (kids and elderly people can drive – or rather be driven)
- Real estate prices in cities (by freeing up a lot of space that won’t be needed for parking anymore)
- Financial freedom (cars are one of the most expensive things we own. Soon, instead of owning cars, instead of paying for gas, insurance and tax, we will pay for miles or time or luxury. Or if we own a car, it will earn money for us in the 90% time it would sit in a parking lot)
- Education and entertainment (the commute time can be used for other things)
Let me know if any other things come to your mind.
By the way, this is the video that triggered me to write this post: