What does the future of car sharing look like?
After writing and researching shareable transportation in It’s a Shareable Life, and doing my own experiments with SideCar Ridesharing, How to Ditch Your Car and most recently Handing My Car Keys to a Twitter Follower, I’ve become intrigued by what the future of car sharing looks like.
Self driving cars
Car sharing will transform in the next decade as self-driving cars and buses become the status quo. My hope is that we can retool the cars we already have to become driverless.
Ownership is going through a phase of questioning, a revolution of sorts – why own a car when we all we really need is access? What we want is to get from point a to point b – not the hunk of metal and responsibility that ownership requires. My bet is that car sharing will really take off when we no longer need to drive, own or be attached to the identity or social status that owning a car currently provides and this will be the turning point when going carless will be the new symbol of freedom.
Less idle time & more flexibility
Of course even with self-driving cars and transport systems, there will still be car hobbyists, race fanatics and people who enjoy the slow coast of a Sunday drive from behind the wheel. However, these new wave, truly smart vehicles will really open up our culture to more time and flexibility. The mental capacity it takes to control and direct a vehicle to and from work on a daily basis is immense, not to mention time consuming. That freed up time could be used creatively or as work hours – giving more potential to travel greater distances and live in more remote locations outside of urban life.
How will technology change the human element of sharing?
At the moment, we see services like SideCar and Lyft (ride sharing) as well as GetAround and Wheelz (car sharing) – but the need for someone to hand another their keys will likely be replaced by advances in technology and the requirement for having a driver will dissipate. So the next question is how will the sharing economy will evolve over time to remain human? How can we continue helping people get their needs met on a peer-to-peer basis without the sharing economy turning into a simple asset reallocation system?
What currently makes the sharing economy beautiful is the human connections established by virtue of necessity – so how will this change? Or wil it? That’s a topic for another time.
What do you think the future holds?