MAVEN, GM’s CAR-SHARING SCHEME, IS REALLY ABOUT A DRIVERLESS FUTURE
(autonomous vehicles – part 4)
#AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES, #GENERAL MOTORS, #LYFT, #RIDE SHARING, #UBER
Picture:URL:http://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/GM_Spark_STORY-ART1.jpg or URL:http://www.wired.com/2016/01/maven-gms-car-sharing-scheme-is-really-about-a-driverless-future/
Article: (from WIRED – http://www.wired.com/category/transportation/)
- “Maven, GM’s Car-Sharing Scheme, Is Really About a Driverless Future”
Author: Alex Davies; Date of Publication: January 21, 2016
General Motors is launching a car-sharing program. It is called Maven, and it is to be accessible in exactly one city. What is more, nevertheless the fact that the concept is similar to the approach implemented by ZipCar, a car sharing company, it has to be stressed that GM does not actually want to be perceived as a contender. It is possible to conclude that General Motors – within this project – is concentrating solely on the future. However, it is also crucial to emphasize that the Detroit automaker has presented even more ambitious projects this month. The company introduced the Chevy Bolt, the first mass-market electric car. Moreover, it acquired the remains of Sidecar, the defunct Uber competitor, to dismantle it for parts. Furthermore, what was also presented in a separate post, the company is cooperating with Mobileye to develop maps for robo-cars. What is more, it is crucial to emphasize that GM is also working with Lyft with an aim of building a network of driverless vehicles. Due to the fact that Maven is available only in Ann Arbor, Michigan, it is likely to consider this project as a strange step. However, it has to be also emphasized that GM intends to deploy the Maven service within other cities soon – and it will not offer the convenience of Uber or Lyft. “Oh sure, there’s money to be made in car-sharing, as ZipCar and others have shown. But it’s small potatoes for a company like GM. It isn’t until you take the long view that this move makes sense,” Davies stresses. It is possible to conclude that Maven can be the base for the self-driving car network General Motors wants to create. It has to be stressed that the typical “owner-driver” concept that has been the most essential part of the auto industry for a century will not be vanishing anytime soon, however, the industry is in the middle of fundamental, revolutionary transition. What is necessary to stress is the information that GM claims some 5 million people worldwide use vehicle sharing services like Uber, and that number is anticipated to reach 25 million by 2020. Furthermore, it is necessary to emphasize that the emerging car sharing industry will be entirely remade by autonomous vehicles, and GM is trying to position itself for that change now. “We feel that we are very well-positioned as a company to be at the very forefront of this change in ownership model, change in mobility, particularly in the urban environment,” says GM President Dan Ammann. Moreover, it is possible to conclude that Maven can be characterized as a key to how GM is addressing that shift. It is important to emphasize that, in the beginning, the service is to be accessible to students and faculty at the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor school grounds. Moreover, while concentrating on the number of available Maven vehicles, it has to be stressed that Chevrolet vehicles – Volts, Sparks, Malibus, and Tahoes – will fill 21 parking spots. It is also necessary to stress that users will have the opportunity to reserve cars via the Maven app, as well as use their phones to unlock and start the vehicles. What is more, the cars will support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, what will allow users to carry their digital lives with them into whatever car they rent. “It’s a truly personalized experience. You can take your life with you,” says Julia Steyn, GM’s head of urban mobility programs. It has to be stressed that the program is complimentary and charges as little as $6 an hour to use a car, which includes insurance and gas. Furthermore, what is also crucial to emphasize is the information that GM is not the only automobile manufacturer exploring the new business models. It has to be stressed that Ford, among other undertakings, is testing peer-to-peer car sharing for its employees, and moreover, it will soon let up to six people jointly lease its cars. What is more, BMW conducted a vehicle sharing program in the Bay Area until November of last year, and Daimler’s Car2Go service works in many cities throughout the US and Europe. Finally, in November, Audi deployed a premium car sharing service in San Francisco and Miami. It is necessary to emphasize that – in the next few months – GM aims to extend Maven to other municipalities. Furthermore, its actual mobility programs, including car sharing services in New York City and Germany, will be enclosed into the new program. It is possible to conclude that Maven will offer services adjusted to users in cities, on campuses, and residences like co-ops. “We see it as a real commercial opportunity,” Ammann says. It is necessary to conclude that it is possible to distinguish many opportunities concerning the expansion of this new program: geographically, with more cars, with more types of cars, by trying new pricing schemes, and by bringing in new customers. However, for the moment, all that is distinct from GM’s autonomous vehicle research and its partnership with Lyft. GM wants to launch a ride-hailing network using driverless vehicles. It has to be emphasized that Maven can be the groundwork for that type of service, with ready-made groups of users, accurately organized by geography as well as by how they like to travel, already using a GM service. “We’re putting in place all the building blocks,” Ammann says. “This is all part of a very comprehensive approach.”
In my opinion, it is crucial to emphasize that due to the autonomous vehicles’ development processes, the automotive industry – and thus its most essential part; the classic “owner-driver” model – is in the middle of fundamental, revolutionary transition. Moreover, it is necessary to stress that according to the General Motors Company nearly 5 million people worldwide use vehicle sharing services like Uber, and that number is anticipated to reach 25 million by 2020. Furthermore, it is necessary to stress that even though the car sharing programs are estimated to serve more than 20 million of people globally by 2020, this emerging car sharing industry will be also entirely remade with the introduction of autonomous vehicles. It is possible to conclude that, due to the current GM’s strategy toward Maven car sharing platform – therefore obtaining ready-made groups of users, accurately organized by geography as well as by how they like to travel, already using a GM service –, this service can be a perfect base for autonomous car sharing network. All things considered, I believe that the project of driverless car sharing services will have a significant impact on the broadly defined issue of travelling. In my opinion, autonomous car sharing companies will also have in their offers the opportunity to use their cars in a similar manner to bus services (specific routes and stops – in order to use while going to work or shopping), and moreover, the system will be basing on an Internet platform, where people will basically buy their “tickets”. However, while focusing solely on the advantages of autonomous vehicles, it will be possible to purchase or rent and plan even the longest journeys, not thinking about sitting in the “driver’s seat”.
Nevertheless, it is important to take into consideration the fact that some of benefits provided by autonomous vehicles may be limited by specific driverless cars’ regulations.