Self-Driving Cars: Stationary Services will Become Mobile

Self-driving cars will not come because they finally give the chance to read while driving. This might be worth pursuing culturally, but no one will invest in it. Self-driving cars will offer new services which will make previously stationary services mobile.

The hotel industry will soon face new competition: self-driving cars that drive customers to their destination overnight, where they then arrive well-slept. Of course, this would not work with a converted mid-sized standard car, but it will work with optimized vehicles – hotel rooms on wheels that flexibly join together in convoys and separate as needed, like a night train on the road, and a private car at departure and destination.

New service providers will offer frequent drivers their own solutions, and larger companies will maintain their own fleets for field work. Nearly every leasing model in today’s company-car landscape will also join in here – even if only for one night.

Savings in overnight accommodations alone make this business area attractive. Hotel-chain operators will look into integrating these services in their stationary models and maintaining classic hotels as part of attractive combination packages.

Other services that are stationary today will follow, from therapists that work during the drive to the office to insurance agents and banks to all kinds of consulting services all the way to hair stylists and mobile restaurants: “Drive-in” and “coffee to go” will become DWYD: “Dine While You Drive.”

Outfitters may also set new standards for individualization. A car that is no longer optimized around the artificial situation of driving offers entirely different possibilities to present outfitting for “living on the road.” Just as it is natural to decorate your house seasonally and to make it more modern at certain intervals, the furnishing of tomorrow’s cars will become personalized and flexible (i.e., adaptive).

For why would the driver of the future have lower requirements for personal furnishing in his mobile living area than for his stationary living area: the classic living room? Especially, when both spaces are used for the same amount of time each day?

Self-driving cars create new business opportunities in various sectors

Mobile service providers will also transfer their need to furnish stationary shops to the mobile world. The continual renewal of interior decoration for self-driving cars is a rapidly growing field for furniture manufacturers, retailers, commercial decorators and interior designers. This is good news for many of today’s workshops and roadside assistance services who will need a new foundation for their businesses in the face of drastically reduced vehicle damages.

What counts as style and individuality here will be transferred to the expectations of the customer of tomorrow concerning the entertainment systems on board. Because the lifetime of a car model clearly exceeds the innovation cycles of consumer electronics, it is even easier to see how important the ability to redecorate or reequip vehicles without considerable costs after use.

How will self-driving cars affect personal and professional lives

Finally, self-driving cars will change our working environments. Among other things, they will offer the opportunity to begin the working day directly from the driveway. Thus the proportion of work time during waking hours will instantly sink.

As early as the late 80s, a famous German sports car company advertised its vehicles with the slogan: “You can take longer for breakfast, and you are back earlier for dinner. Can you find a better family car?” What sports cars promised back then will be delivered by self-driving cars tomorrow.

Yet even more, the networked self-driving car offers the opportunity to take on other jobs: working hourly at the customer service center of another company and taking care of open tickets or conducting telemarketing and digital office services are a few examples. Every job that can be done with a telephone, a laptop, and an internet connection can also be done in the car.

The term “job nomads” will therefore gain a new meaning. As commuting workers, they will be bookable for various services, leading to the shifting of these out of offices and literally onto the street. This separation of tasks will change the average workday on both sides, for what will be left to do at the office?

Also, one thing is true here as well: Those who take over control and can flexibly combine supply and demand will have the best chances for successful business models. To this end, the recruitment agencies of the future will divide tasks and labor into very small components and combine them as modules, offering temporary work in quarter-hourly blocks.

New opportunities for recruiters and logistics specialists, restaurants and hotels – and of course also for what we call “taxis” today: Those are the real drivers that will bring self-driving cars on our streets even in a few years’ time. Perhaps some of the cars will indeed offer a steering wheel as a nostalgic extra – even if it is just a decoration.

What role do you think self-driving cars play in achieving and maintaining work-life balance? Share your opinions in our comment section.

Please note that this article expresses the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of Move Forward.

Mobility as a Service and New Business Models for Self-Driving Cars

In the interconnected everyday life of today – and even more in that of tomorrow – mobility is taking on a central role. Just as the software industry has long pitched software as a service, digital service is moving more and more into the forefront in the area of mobility. Service is replacing ownership.

When booking tickets for planes, trains, buses, ordering taxis, navigation systems, addresses and calendars are all managed with the smartphone anyway, who needs to integrate a car here? Today’s users of digital car-sharing services take this as a given in any case. This is one key driver for the networking of cars – and the autonomous car in particular offers more far-reaching opportunities for integration into private digital mobility constellations.

Mobility as a Service

There is another factor that makes the idea of interconnected vehicles attractive from the customer’s perspective: The networked car is adaptable and can integrate functions at a later point which were not part of its programming at the time of delivery. In short: The networked car will be adaptive.

Even today, the first car manufacturers are advertising an expanded range of autonomous vehicle functions that will not be available for use in its cars until some months in the future. The companies promise that the cars they sell today will receive these functions later as a wireless update.

With this adaptive functionality, the connected car fulfills the key customer requirement of digital business: It is individually tailored and remains changeable over time. Experts expect this customer expectation to affect virtually all industries in the future. Customers will look for adaptive products, and will receive precisely such offerings thanks to the spread of digitalization into more and more areas of life. The poles of this dynamic reinforce each other mutually.

Better safety promises financial benefits, declining insurance fees, and largely disappearing repair costs. Increased comfort and greater time saving are also likely to play a role here. The most important driver from the customer side, however, is – at least in the initial phase – the need for differentiation.

In a digital society where everything is available quickly everywhere, differentiating characteristics become anchors for one’s identity. The self-driving car visually demonstrates the customer’s uniqueness and expresses a certain attitude. This attitude goes far beyond a boastful “I can afford it,” and shows another way of using resources, time, and data with the interconnection of everyday life (and indeed of all of life). The self-driving car offers a certain distinction, a rarity in the digital world.

The new business models for self-driving cars

Will these vehicles first appear on the market when every conceivable technological or legal hurdle has been removed? No. Self-driving cars will not only replace cars as we know them today. Providers will attack familiar brands with new products and new business models. People are convinced that, in many cases, they have bright prospects.

Of course, the obvious things are true: Taxis and the entire transport sector will be affected, from taxi drivers to their trainers and suppliers all the way to the corresponding associations. The industry is also facing massive pressure from aggressive competitors not afraid of the unique nature of that regulated market to protect business models no longer able to survive on their own.

The next mobility solution, however, will no longer aim for the taxi business. That market, while media-inclined and therefore friendly to innovators looking for publicity, is too small in the end. The next mobility solution will attack the logistics sector.

The problem has already been solved of how the trunks of parked cars can be used as delivery stations for packages. Automated collection and delivery, including secure remote opening and locking of the car trunks is currently being tested in practice. The result: a package station every few meters.

Self-driving cars go the decisive step further at this point and are capable of driving to the customer on their own. This creates the fine-tuned network needed to make the low-cost and highly precise delivery of perishable groceries possible for supermarkets.

Package services, pizza delivery, traders… the list of potential users is easy to imagine. Not one of these providers would need to acquire its own vehicle here. Autonomous cars offer their owners the potential to join together as enormously powerful peer-to-peer networks.

Thus the two previously dormant points of potential for the common car: unused space and unused time. While its owner is busy working, sleeping, or at the fitness club, his car is on the road autonomously, taking care of jobs for others and thus paying for itself. These are all of the ingredients that are necessary for successful business models.

Here lies space and opportunity for all kinds of attackers in the logistics sector. Thus this industry also takes another step in digitalization: Owning hardware for the provision of successful and attractive logistical services is no longer needed. Business is becoming software.

What do you think of these new business models? Do you have any other potential business model ideas for self-driving cars? Share your ideas in our comment section.

Please note that this article expresses the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of Move Forward.

Self-Driving Cars: The Human Safety Factor and the Possibilities of Fewer Components

The closer the possibility comes that the human being at the wheel will become irrelevant, the more intensely emphasis is placed on the significance and performance capabilities of the human driver – and often even widely exaggerated. A rather typical defensive reaction of the conscious human facing innovation through intelligent machines.

A car is heading to hit oncoming traffic when a child runs into the street and the driver has no time to stop – which accident will a person likely choose? Situations like this one are gleefully presented in order to illustrate the difficulties of autonomous driving. Which choice would car companies program into their vehicle’s computer? And on which grounds? Don´t we need the human driver to decide responsibly?

In actuality however, the above example proves the opposite. Can people seriously assume that a human being would make an ethically informed decision – without warning, with no time to reflect, as a spontaneous reflex – and would avoid the greater loss? While he is also busy dealing with his children in the back seat, operating his navigation system, singing along with his favorite song on the radio, yawning, sneezing, or laughing together with the person sitting next to him?

How can autonomous vehicles prevent accidents

Even with today’s technology, automated intervention is faster, the vehicle brakes more powerfully and steers more precisely than a human being, and would cause less damage than its human driver (especially independent of his need to choose between two bad situations).

Additionally: The autonomously driving system would be much less likely to bring the vehicle into this kind of situation at all. Just as in the past, excessive speed is the number one cause of auto accidents, especially in urban traffic. This will end with autonomous driving.

And yet more: Self-driving cars will naturally have the ability to communicate with one another. They form networks and inform each other about traffic problems, temporary construction sites, and potholes, and with the threat of real emergency can warn each other directly. In the above-cited example, a self-driving car would have already caused the other vehicle to stop before a driver would even have moved his or her foot to the brake pedal.

The debate about whether it is ethically more responsible to avoid collision with oncoming traffic or with a child on the road is, of course, worth having. What is to stop people from doing so? And, even if there is no perfect answer, the self-driving car will be able to decide and react at least as well as a human driver – probably much better, actually, and almost certainly never worse.

In recent decades, traffic safety has increased by leaps and bounds everywhere where human influence has been limited – such as through assisted-driving systems. In 1950, more than 7,000 people died in car accidents in West Germany. Today the number for Germany is less than half, and this with more than fifty times as many cars on the streets. Today, the safety levels of the 50s, when traffic safety was almost entirely dependent on driver carefulness, would wipe out an entire major city every year.

The innovative leap of autonomous vehicles

In past years and decades, industry has spent much effort developing technologies that compensate for the shortcomings and failures of human drivers – first as an extra in luxury cars, but later as a standard component even of compact vehicles:

Power steering and power brakes make precise steering easier; emergency-brake assistants improve drivers’ often insufficient braking power; fatigue recognition systems use biometric analysis to advise drivers about when to take a break – not to mention distance alert systems, lane departure warning systems, traction control systems, and rear-view cameras.

None of these technologies can completely overcome the limitations of human operation, but they do considerably expand the limits of the possible. The sobering conclusion: The capabilities of the human driver are limited today as in the past and the driver remains the number-one risk in the vehicle. He is the weak link in accident-free car control.

He is also, despite the opinions of a few aggressive drivers, the greatest obstacle to reaching his destination sooner. Why? He can only drive when he is awake and fit to drive, and vehicles that can communicate collectively are always faster in heavy traffic.

This is the real quantum leap of autonomous driving: Abandoning the goal of constantly trying to make humans better drivers or continually trying to better aid human vehicle control. This step opens up tremendous new possibilities for automobile developers and manufacturers – and thus for all affiliated industries as well.

For the first time in many years, technology has become redundant, which will save effort, costs, and vehicle weight. And this is no triviality, as especially the reduction of weight has long since found itself at the point where even the smallest improvements come at a high price. Every gram here is won at high costs.

The intentional omission of parts in this area is opening the opportunity for noteworthy leaps in development for the first time in years. The same goes on the side of costs: Suppliers have long been complaining that the big auto producers have rejected the development of additional parts and features with reference to added costs of only a few cents. Even if the big car manufacturers continuously work on reducing production costs by hundreds of millions, optimization is finally reaching its limits in the industry.

According to automobile manufacturers, this breathing room is one of the real drivers behind the development of self-driving vehicles. Thus, any belief that the self-driving car of the future will still come equipped with a steering wheel and gas pedal has not been thought out.

In this regard, the unusual pod-style autonomous car that is being tested by one of the competitors is much closer to the future than the retroactively automated luxury cars currently featured at trade shows and test tracks.

The self-driving cars of tomorrow will look unfamiliar at first, and they will also be oriented towards new goals of use and thus change today’s business models.

How do you envision the look of autonomous vehicles? Share your ideas in our comment section

Please note that this article expresses the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of Move Forward.

Autonomous Cars Will Change Whole Sectors

Self-driving cars are pushing into the market – and they will change entire industries. Naturally, taxi and bus operators are affected by this, but that is not the exciting thing here. Self-driving cars will change hotels, the restaurant industry, and logistics, and will lead to new business models for human resources specialists, super markets, hair stylists, and therapists, to name a few. The reason: The self-driving car of the future will not copy today’s cars, but will be designed for new forms of use. Read below who is driving this development and how different industries will be affected.

Self-driving cars: The technology is poised to make its leap into the mass market. While a few hurdles still exist, the necessary technology is essentially available now. At present, sensors are still too expensive, but trend researchers expect partially self-driving cars to become part of everyday life no later than 2020, and not only top-range models, but smaller cars as well. Between 2025 and 2030, fully self-driving cars will also become a common sight.

The topic has already become an established part of public debate: Yes, on the highways of course, at average speeds – this people can accept. They would add, however, that the driver still has to have the ability to grab the wheel.

Why? Because of ethical questions. Who is responsible when an automated vehicle causes an accident? This is the typical tune of dozens of articles and special publications.

How will autonomous cars affect different business models

Self-driving cars will come. And when they do, they will change business models and entire industries. However, present perceptions of autonomous cars, tied to fascination with technology, are poorly focused for the actual drivers behind this development.

It is precisely these drivers, however, that give the decisive indicators regarding what consequences autonomous driving will have for the mobility, living, and working environments of the future, and which business models it will thereby change.

Those who merely smile cloyingly at one of the first autonomous cars obstruct their vision of the challenges that the technology of autonomous driving will bring. No one will buy a self-driving car in order to use their phone or speak to fellow passengers while driving: The passenger seat is usually empty anyway, and phone use while driving has long been commonplace. No one will buy – let alone build – a self-driving car for these reasons.

What, then, are the drivers behind the development of self-driving cars? What determines supply and demand? The person who understands these things will be able to predict whose business models are actually at risk here. Read in this series about the future business models and how they will foster different cars: self-driving without a steering wheel.

Do you think autonomous cars will affect the industry that you’re working for? If yes or no, tell us your reasons in our comment section.

Please note that this article expresses the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of Move Forward.

The Adaptive City of the Future

As the global population is expected to increase over the next decades, will tomorrow’s cities be able to meet the increasing needs of citizens? Will cities be able to anticipate and provide necessary services or infrastructure? In our interview, Michael Carl, Director Analysis and Studies for a Trend Research Institute, addresses these questions and shares his vision on what the adaptive city of future will look like.

What is the benchmark that city-of-the-future concepts will have to meet?

There has been a lot of talk about openness, communication and diversity. One being more important than the other. But in the end, the benchmark is simple: The city of the future has to be able to connect to every individual citizen, eye-to-eye.

What will freedom mean in a city of the future – for example regarding the mobility of the individual?

Freedom has been one of the key drivers leading cities to prosperity and growth. For centuries, the freedom of the city has been the freedom to possess, combined with the freedom of personally not being part of someone else’s property in the first place.

Now we begin to see a new promise of freedom that is the freedom of not having to own. Speaking of mobility: One does not have to own a car to be able to drive. Even more so: By not having to own one specific car, you can use different cars – vans, mini-buses, convertibles – meeting your ever-changing needs much better.

What do you understand to be “adaptive” in this context?

“Average” was the huge achievement of the industrial age, the mass production of goods for the many. The digital age brings an end to the idea of the average solution. Digital production, digital sales, digital communication – they all promote the idea of mass individualization. My product, my service, my contract. This is what we see today already.

The next step is the promise that my individual product will not only meet my actual needs and wishes, but will adjust itself according to my needs of tomorrow, even if they are unknown today. This is the core of adaptive thinking in product development and customer care: The promise of continuous change along the change of individual needs of any unforeseeable kind.

How can cities be adaptive?

The adaptive city of tomorrow brings this promise to the public community. It is an ever-enabling body, listening to the will and needs of its people. The adaptive city is pure digital infrastructure, connecting and supporting all aspects of urban life. You might want to put it the other way around: We will call a life being “urban” if it is digitally connected and enables a personal and individually customized life.

Who will provide the services required – companies or the city/state itself?

No public administration will ever be competent to provide all the digital services one needs in the adaptive city of the future. The good news is: There is no strict alternative. We see a public task, which is to include the city´s people into the digital realm—unless they do not withdraw from it themselves.

We see private companies with numerous initiatives providing service for their customers, which the public does not need to double, but to connect to. The result is the freedom people will seek in tomorrow´s cities.

How will this kind of city adapt to the individual person and his or her needs?

It will be crucial for successful communities to lead an open and continuing dialogue on the needs and standards of public and publicly funded services. This ongoing communication process is at the heart of the adaptive city.

What will the infrastructure of an adaptive city look like?

To begin with: A powerful, reliable connection to the internet, wherever you go, whoever you are. The idea that connectivity is something you would have to pay for already belongs to the past. Second: Every public service will be connected online, will be transformed to an online service. Third: The infrastructure will promote connected solutions for people`s needs: mobility, health and education.

We especially expect the rise of places to learn and develop. In the old days, you would have expected schools and colleges mainly for the youth. Prepare yourself for places to learn and to grow in broader company.

In the end, what location factors will decide about the appeal of a city of the future—for companies as well as people?

In a society undergoing a major demographic change, with companies facing the threat of not being able to recruit the human work force they need (neither in quality nor in quantity), the success of any city is its ability to attract more people than the other cities around.

This is the new way to publicly fund the economy: Being attractive for people to come and to stay. For this very reason, the cities of the future will provide connective infrastructure and places to learn and to develop. They will have to work hard to keep the promise of the individuality of the digital age.

Leave a comment: According to you, what are the important factors that urban planners should consider while planning the city of future? Why?

Please note that this article expresses the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of Move Forward.