A few months ago, Google published this video of a blind man in a car, getting a burrito at the Taco-Bell. Without touching the steering wheel, Steve Mahan –thats his name– turned in the drive true, ordered his food, and drove away. This is truly a game-changer in the making.
Within 6 years, you can own one yourself (!) predicts KPMG. Not only Google is researching this type of vehicles, also Toyota, BMW and others are on the same path. Google already pushed for a law legalizing self-driving cars in California and Nevada.
Impact on Business: prepare for armageddon
My interest is always in the impact game-changers like this one have on existing business. And because I know it is hard to change the way we deliver value to costumers, some industries should start thinking pretty fast. Below I have covered some business that will likely be affected by the self driving car.
The car repair services. This car will not crash. Nope. Not. The Google-car drove 300.000 miles, with one minor accident, and that was when a person was driving it. So what is the impact on garages, spray painters, and car accident services? Mega! No collisions, no business. (oh, and what to think of transplant services? No accidents, no deaths, no organs.. Hopefully a that time we will 3D print the human particles)
Courier services. The question is: will the car be allowed to drive on its own? If so, why should I wait for a courier to show up at my house, when I instead can send the car out to get it for me? Same thing for grocery shopping. I order online, and the car will fetch it for me. Albert Heijn, the biggest Dutch grocery retailer is already experimenting with a drive true supermarket. Well, they will put my stuff in the trunk, won’t they?
Gas stations. Nowadays the gas stations are earning their money with coffee. But, if my car can drive itself, it can drive to the gas station to get some petrol or electricity by itself. Then I will have time to drink some really GOOD cappuccino at a nicer place than the average gas station. So, if they earn their money with coffee and candy, where are they going to earn it with, when our cars will drive itself?
Public Transport. I am a lover of public transport. Why? Because I think it is a waste of my time to drive a car, while I could be working or reading. Most of the time I have to drive long distances by car, I hire a driver (it really pays off). The problem with public transport is the last mile. How do you get from the station to your destination? Well, I would leave the train, and switch to this car for that. The same goes for taxi’s.
I can think of numerous other businesses that are threatened by this new technology. But there are numerous opportunities as well. Who will think of a way so my car can pay for me? Who will think of a way to share the cars with my neighbor? And who opens a brand new washing-station, only for self driving cars?