Cars have surely come a long way since the early 1900s when the first automobile was invented. From horse and buggy to self-driving cars, the car industry has taken over the world. Your car is no longer a measly means of transportation, but a car is a means of transportation in which you spend your life in. Here are some recent changes in the industry regarding how people are actually riding in cars today - ridesharing, carsharing and self-driving cars.
Ridesharing and Carsharing
One change in the overall auto industry is the actual way in which people are riding in cars. Most recently, we have seen a large growth in ridesharing. According to Google, ridesharing is defined as participating in an arrangement in which a passenger travels in a private vehicle driven by its owner, for free or for a fee, especially as arranged by means of a website or app. Some of the most well-known ridesharing companies today include Uber and Lyft, but currently there are over 41 companies in operation today.1
Another growing part of the sharing economy today is carsharing. Carsharing is similar to renting a car, without the reservations and long lines. With carsharing, you can actually pick up a car in designated lots or parking spots and drive the vehicle on your own for a fee. Membership-based carsharing companies, such as car2go and Zipcar, currently serve approximately 1.3 million members and are growing at a rate of 35 percent annually.1
With a large rise in the “sharing economy,” over time there may be a decrease in the amount of collisions as a result of less cars on the road. People are also less likely to get in wrecks as a result of alcohol-impairment (one of the top causes of collisions) due to the availability of ridesharing companies. With a potential decrease in collisions in the future, auto repair shops should make sure that they begin to become knowledgeable in other technologies so that they can still be the go-to shop for more specific repairs.
A trend that is very likely to affect collision centers is the rise of the self-driving car. Why could self-driving cars be bad for collision centers? 94 percent of accidents in the U.S. involve human error. Self-driving cars essentially eliminate human error, and - with the exception of a couple of highly publicized accidents - rarely cause accidents. Great for humanity! Not so great for collision center owners who fear they’ll be out of cars to repair.
When discussing self-driving vehicles, it is impossible not to mention two major companies in the race - Google and Tesla. Google actually started on its venture in 2009 with the goal of building an autonomous car by 2020.2 In 2009, the project set out to drive fully autonomous vehicles over ten uninterrupted 100-mile routes in a Toyota Prius. Today, the project has changed its name to Waymo, and is an independent self-driving technology company with a mission to make it easy and safe for people to move around. The cars in Waymo’s fleet are able to move around and adjust to unexpected road changes like closed lanes and large vehicles. In October 2016, they had driven more than two million miles on city streets (the equivalent of 300 years of human driving experience).3
In 2016, Tesla Motors announced that all of its electric cars will be the first in the nation to be fitted with the hardware they need to drive themselves.4 Tesla describes its cars’ advanced sensor coverage as, “Eight surround cameras provide 360 degrees of visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength that is able to see through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.”5
These are just a few ways the auto industry has really amped up. They surely don't make cars like they used to. If you missed part one in the series, click here to read it. Stay tuned for section three!