My kids have never known what it’s like to not have Internet or cell phones. It makes me feel pretty old to say things like, “When I was a kid we had to look things up in the encyclopedia and make phone calls while attached to the wall.”
When my kids are parents, they’ll probably say things like, “I remember when people had to drive their own cars.”
Technology advances fast and the next decade will likely bring changes we can’t even fathom right now. On the automotive side of things, self-driving cars are already shaping up to be the next revolution right alongside a shift in the traditional car ownership model.
Think about this for a second: Children born today may never drive, or own, a car.
An article at NBC News says,
While the number of Americans using all forms of ride-sharing — autonomous or otherwise — is currently quite small, RethinkX, an independent think tank that looks at the impact of new technology, says it will grow rapidly. By 2030, it predicts in its new report, 95 percent of the miles traveled in the U.S. will be in self-driving, shared electric vehicles.
The future of cars undoubtedly includes autonomy and electricity. It’s also looking like traditional car ownership could give way to ride sharing. In addition to Uber and Lyft, which are basically personal taxi services, companies like Yoyo are attempting to disrupt the entire flow of the auto industry.
Yoyo was conceived as the Netflix of cars. The company hopes to convince drivers to subscribe to the service with an annual membership fee then have access to whatever type of car that’s desired.
Like Netflix DVDs, a car can be kept for as long as the driver wants before switching it out for something else. A subscriber could have a small commuter car for the weekdays but switch it out for an SUV for a weekend road trip then opt for a convertible when the forecast calls for summer heat.
A per-mile fee includes insurance and maintenance and the driver never has to worry about registration fees or emission tests.
It’s a radical idea but one that could take off as the concept of owning cars continues to be challenged by forward-thinking entrepreneurs.
One of the downsides to car subscription services is not being able to customize a car to suit personal tastes or make a statement. If the next generation grows up without owning cars, though, that could be a practice that becomes as obsolete as printed encyclopedias.
Would you subscribe to a car service instead of owning a car?