A few years back, in 2016 to be precise, we wrote an article on how technology was about to disrupt the future of transportation. It never got published.
Perhaps it was a fear of looking too far out there that put us off, but the reality of a flying car, going to work on a scooter, or even the idea of getting into a stranger’s car to get around town just seemed a little far-fetched.
We should have published it. What a difference a few years can make.
Uber has become one of the biggest transportation companies in the world and rentable scooters now litter the streets of most major U.S. cities.
When you think about it, for as long as we humans have been around, we have sought to ease our burden of transporting ourselves and our belongings. From Roman chariots to U-hauls, e-bikes to Ubers, we want to propel ourselves as cheaply, comfortably and affordably as possible. This is both an innate desire and an inalienable right.
What Elon Musk is planning with Tesla over the next couple of years seems disruptive, yet appealing. Specifically, any owner of a Tesla is expected to soon be given the opportunity to rent their car out as an automated taxi when they’re not using it.
I’m calling it “go make me money mode.” And it’s a brilliant concept.
When you think of it, most cars sit idle 95% of the time. Why not make money off of it?
Transportation, like housing, has always been a cost. And suddenly, it has the potential to not be.
Just think about the way that Airbnb turned housing, and the ability to rent a room in your house out to stranger for-profit. Tesla is about to do something similar to the automobile industry. And by the time they’ve got the whole, drive safely, in a blizzard, on icy roads thing worked out (which in fairness will take probably 3 to 6 years), they’ll flip the automobile industry on its head and into a profit-generating model, just like Airbnb is doing to housing.
Consider that an electric car, costs about $25 a month in electricity, instead of $250 a month in fuel. It could drop you off at work at 9 am and then drive around, picking people up. Autonomously. All-day long.
Now consider that there are perhaps 10 moving parts in an electric motor that can break vs exponentially more in a traditional engine. You start to realize with some of these cars hitting 1 Million miles that things the game is likely to change.
No doubt both you and Tesla will split the profits. But on the assumption, your share is a mere fifteen dollars a day, it means that you basically pay for your car for free. In other words, the money your car generates pays for its own car payment and the electricity it uses. Or so goes the theory.
Any that’s not all.
According to Elon Musk, there are also numerous other disruptive changes coming down the pipe. From his Hyperlink that travels at up to 780 mph (in about 3 years) to Tesla’s proposed rockets (in 10 years) that will supposedly be able to take you anywhere in the world in 30 minutes- for the price of an airplane fair.
Want to get a better understanding of how this will change things? This video from a U.S. lawyer does a great job of looking at the ramifications this disruption will cause. It’s food for thought.
Some final thoughts: Perhaps the line that stopped us hitting the publish button in our initial article 4 years ago was that “new devices and services are coming to market so quickly that it’s likely that within 10 years, the automation of transportation will actually start to change us as a species”. It looks like its starting to happen.
We’ll be watching.