The Future of the Automobile Industry: Sell Rides, Not Cars

General Motors is the latest major car company to make a large investment in ridesharing.


Autonomous cars will change the entire business of transportation. Selling one car to every person isn't a viable business model — why own when you can just summon one when needed? The question here is whether the major car manufacturers will innovate or die. 

GM seems to have seen the shift, deciding to invest $500 million in Lyft.

Brad Templeton of Singularity University writes that he found GM's investment interesting, “because it’s another car company showing they are not just giving lip service to the idea of selling rides rather than cars.”

Below, Templeton offers a crash course in Autonomous Vehicles 101.

GM wants to partner with Lyft to create a “network of on-demand autonomous vehicles,” breaking away from the traditional model of selling cars to individuals. In their presumed future, consumers will become summoners in the age of robocars — not caretakers of their own vehicles.

This model makes sense, and the success or failure of these businesses will be decided on how quickly they can answer the call for a pickup.

The technology isn't quite there yet. GM plans on rolling out its own semi-autonomous “Super Cruise” function into its 2017 Cadillac CT6. The feature is not unlike what Tesla introduced in its cars just last year, which gave drivers the ability to take on a supervisory role while on the highway. There are still questions as to how these robocars will be received in a world of unpredictable human drivers. (Google's cars have been on the receiving end of a number of rear-endings.)

But when these cars do arrive (maybe as soon as 2030), this sharing economy will create a more efficient world. It will empower the elderly — who could not otherwise drive a car on their own.

“We're going to rewrite really important elements of our society when we make transportation one of these computerized technologies,” says Templeton. “It's going to change a lot more of our lives than people think to have cars that are smart in this way.”

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Apple, Amazon, and Uber are moving in on health care. Will it help?

Big tech is making its opening moves into the health care scene, but its focus on tech-savvy millennials may miss the mark.

Apple COO Jeff Williams discusses Apple Watch Series 4 during an event on September 12, 2018, in Cupertino, California. The watch lets users take electrocardiogram readings. (Photo: NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google have been busy investing in health care companies, developing new apps, and hiring health professionals for new business ventures.
  • Their current focus appears to be on tech-savvy millennials, but the bulk of health care expenditures goes to the elderly.
  • Big tech should look to integrating its most promising health care devise, the smartphone, more thoroughly into health care.
Keep reading Show less

Harvard: Men who can do 40 pushups have a 'significantly' lower risk of heart disease

Turns out pushups are more telling than treadmill tests when it comes to cardiovascular health.

Airman 1st Class Justin Baker completes another push-up during the First Sergeants' push-up a-thon June 28, 2011, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Participants were allowed 10 minutes to do as many push-ups as they could during the fundraiser. Airman Baker, a contract specialist assigned to the 354th Contracting Squadron, completed 278 push-ups. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Janine Thibault)
Surprising Science
  • Men who can perform 40 pushups in one minute are 96 percent less likely to have cardiovascular disease than those who do less than 10.
  • The Harvard study focused on over 1,100 firefighters with a median age of 39.
  • The exact results might not be applicable to men of other age groups or to women, researchers warn.
Keep reading Show less

The colossal problem with universal basic income

Here's why universal basic income will hurt the 99%, and make the 1% even richer.

Videos
  • Universal basic income is a band-aid solution that will not solve wealth inequality, says Rushkoff.
  • Funneling money to the 99% perpetuates their roles as consumers, pumping money straight back up to the 1% at the top of the pyramid.
  • Rushkoff suggests universal basic assets instead, so that the people at the bottom of the pyramid can own some means of production and participate in the profits of mega-rich companies.
Keep reading Show less