Rubén M.Cenzano

Chartered Civil Engineer specialised in Transportation

Ingeniero de Caminos especialista en Transporte

the multiple trends affecting the car industry

Posted On Thursday, 24 September 2015

Since the late 19th century, the invention of automobiles, airplanes, subways, and other new forms of transportation have profoundly shaped where and how we live.  Cars led to suburban flight by enabling longer commutes, while modern transit systems helped facilitate a more recent wave of urbanization. This brings us to the 21st century, we are watching the confluence of several paths.

Many in tech proclaimed 2014 “The Year of Uber.”  In 12 months, Uber expanded from 66 to 266 cities, from 29 to 53 countries, served 140 million rides, and raised $3 billion in new funding en route to a $40 billion valuation. Meanwhile, Lyft scaled to 60 cities and racked up $332.5 million, reaching a $1 billion valuation.We should not forget other companies already stated in this website such as Koolicar, WeTruck or Blablacar. Meanwhile, declining vehicle ownership opens up possibilities for complimentary business models.

The last successful American car startup was founded 111 years ago: Ford. Morgan Stanley calls Tesla "the world's most important car company," and a 2014 nationwide survey found that  Tesla's Model S was the "Most Loved Vehicle in America." CEO Elon Musk continues to steer Tesla’s production line down market to attract a broader segment of the car buying population, the promise of more affordable mass market electric vehicles starts to seem more attainable. This trend opens up the potential for startups specializing in low-end electric vehicles.

Connected cars
As vehicle data gets mined, aggregated, and brought online, new opportunities for innovations that make driving safer, friendlier, and more efficient continue to emerge. Some examples of this technology can be found in this website, under the "smart city" tag.

Autonomous vehicles
Autonomous transportation will impact everything from highway traffic patterns to inner city congestion to commercial parking infrastructure, with major implications for city planning requirements. Self-driving cars also make commuting more convenient, which may help to ease overcrowding in big cities as more people opt to live in outlying neighborhoods.  As autonomous vehicles continue to evolve, new opportunities will emerge for entrepreneurs to innovate up and down the tech stack to ensure these vehicles operate safely and smoothly. Google is currently dominating this technology, but there are also other main players in this game such as Uber.

Meanwhile, we need to programe these vehicles to understand the unpredictable human behaviour; from cyclists to drivers, as well as taking ethical decisions.

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