Troy, Mich. — Mobility always has been at the core of the automotive industry, and now it's also about to rock that same core.
Autonomous vehicles are on the horizon. And even if that horizon is distant, the industry is preparing to design a new world where millions of people would gain access to the road if the technology can be brought to the mainstream.
John McElroy, host of Autoline Daily and Autoline This Week, discussed the challenges and the possibilities of such a world during his keynote address at the recent Rubber in Automotive Conference, held June 13-14 in Troy.
"The largest auto makers are looking at how to get into mobility, not just making cars, but providing mobility for all segments of society." McElroy said. "The very old, the very young, anybody with any kind of a disability, anybody who has a drug and drinking problem, are now soon going to be able to have their own set of wheels. To be able to get a car or get taken to where they need to go. It's a megatrend, the sharing economy."
Ride sharing is at the core of autonomous vehicles. He said more people—specifically millennials—are interested in many different sharing services like Uber and Lyft. And that changes the way a car is used.
"This is a global phenomenon," he said. "And the use of this sharing is starting to grow tremendously. All the OEMs want to get in on the action because they realize that this could be a threat to their business model. So many others are already getting into it, like the daily rental companies. They're starting to come up with ways that you can share a ride or even share your own car."