Daimler’s car2go car-sharing service just published a white paper on five conditions for successful management of an autonomous car fleet. The company used the knowledge they’ve gained from their fleet of 14,000 vehicles across 26 cities to come up with the forward-thinking paper. Those five conditions are professional fleet management, demand prediction, fleet intelligence, intelligent charging and the best customer experience.
The white paper points out some of the challenges companies will encounter when attempting to solve for each of the five conditions. For example, with regards to fleet management, the company will have to manage both the software and its algorithms, big data and apps as well as the hardware. Right now, there are many players in this market but few who have the expertise in both the hardware and the software field.
Companies will have to adjust for the ebb and flow of demand for their services. The example given in the white paper is a stadium letting out after a soccer match. Car-sharing companies will have to increase the available units in certain locations during these times. A new player in the space would have little data to base their initial demand predictions on, leaving them open to the risk of many disappointed users not being able to pin down a ride. Sort of like trying to get an Uber out in the middle of nowhere or the worse, the Dark Ages when we had to call a taxi cab company and pray someone showed up.
The big winners in this space will likely be the companies which can get a vehicle to the customer in the shorter time, for the most competitive price, in the most reliable manner. Speaking on the future of autonomous driving, CEO of the car2go Group Olivier Reppert said, “No other mobility sector can prepare itself so comprehensively for the future of autonomous driving as the free floating car-sharing sector. Whoever wants to optimally manage fleets must manage the cars on the same high level as the software –using learning algorithms, big data and apps. We are already doing this today."
The biggest winner will be the general public. Fewer distracted drivers, fewer drunk drivers, and no slow drivers in the left lane. I can't speak on robo-car road rage though.