Car sharing has already caught on, but a new study from ABI Research says the trend will continue to grow as self-driving cars make their way into society.
The study predicts 400 million people will rely on “robotic car sharing” by 2030, adding that this robotic service will become “the ultimate form of transportation for its availability, convenience, and affordability.”
“Car sharing is successful because the increased efficiency through higher vehicle utilization rates drives down costs, which results in more affordable transportation,” says Dominique Bonte, Managing Director and VP at ABI Research. “Why go through the expense of purchasing a car, and then regular insurance and maintenance fees, when we can all embrace the new car sharing economy?
Bonte said the car sharing economy is a classic example of crowd-sourcing and is driving many GenY supporters. He said the benefits extend beyond collaboration, and include the ability to monetize personal assets and real-time matching of supply and demand.
However, a recent poll from Morning Consult found Americans aren’t quite ready for self-driving cars. Maybe they will be by 2030, but currently 43 percent of those who took the poll said driverless cars are not safe – and this was before Google’s self-driving car crashed into a public transit bus.
More than 75 percent of voters expressed concerns about road safety, glitches, and having self-driving cars share the road with traditional cars. And 51 percent of voters said they wouldn’t ride in one.
Young people and men were mostly likely to see driverless cars as safe. Forty-five percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they believed the technology to be safe, while only 25 percent of people over the age of 65 said the same. Similarly, 44 percent of men said they were safe, compared to just 21 percent of women.
And it seems Zipcar, the world’s largest car-sharing service, is on board with the arrival of self-driving cars. President Kaye Ceille recently wrote that Zipcar has “always envisioned a world where car sharers outnumber car owners, and we believe that the broad adoption of autonomous vehicles will be what turns that vision into a reality. The onset of self-driving cars will usher in a new era of mobility-as-a-service.”
Zipcar has certainly made moves to prepare for this technological shift by establishing the ZipLabs R&D environment, joining forces with the University of Michigan Mobility Transformation Center, and building out its team of engineers. Ceille added, “while no one can really predict exactly when self-driving cars will hit the roads, and how truly autonomous they will be when they do, one thing is true: it’s no longer a question of “if” but “when.” And when that time comes, we’ll be in the driver’s seat.”