It is 7 a.m. on a Monday and your work commute is about to begin. But instead of bracing yourself for a morning of white-knuckle traffic, you open an app and order two driverless cars. The first will take you to work. During the hands-free drive, you will have time to catch up on emails, prepare for your first meeting of the day or read the latest news. The second car will take your children to school. And later, you can order the same service to chauffeur them to various after-school activities.
“Our view is the change is going to happen. We want to be driving it and leading it.”
—Dan Ammann, president, General Motors
This vision of the future has many tech companies jumping in to compete with automotive giants to lead what could amount to the biggest disruption in recent history. Apple, for example, code-named its autonomous car endeavor “Project Titan,” and the Google X laboratory has already accrued more than 1.5 million test miles on roads in California, Washington, Arizona and Texas with its own driverless car technology.
Some tech companies, Apple and Google included, are pairing up with automakers and transportation companies to bring together the best of both worlds. In the last year alone, partnerships in the driverless car space have been announced between BMW, Intel and Mobileye; Google and Fiat Chrysler; Apple and Didi Chuxing; Volkswagen and ride-hailing startup Gett; and Alibaba and SAIC MotorDisruptive forces could ultimately usher in a dramatic shift in the standard owner-driver model. Click To TweetGeneral Motors and Lyft, for example, have forged a partnership to develop an autonomous fleet of cars that, in the long term, will allow users to skip buying a car altogether and instead hail a vehicle from a pool on an as-needed basis. “We’re growing in places where we’ve been less strong historically and putting ourselves right at the forefront of this change,”Dan Ammann, president, GM, told National Public Radio. “Our view is the change is going to happen. We want to be driving it and leading it.”