We know that professionals in the parking industry have been contemplating, for some time now, how autonomous vehicles might change conventional car ownership and the impact that this will have on current parking solutions and revenue models.
Currently, most professionals within the parking industry share a common vision of what this autonomous future will look like: people will no longer own cars, but instead summon, with a mobile device, for example, an autonomous vehicle from the nearest parking garage. Once the user has completed their journey the vehicle will return to the nearest (most likely automated) garage to charge and complete a range of other services as necessary. If we look to draw parallels with current mobility and parking solutions, this vision of the autonomous future most closely relates to the modern day car-sharing or rental car market.
So, whilst some thought has been put into the impact autonomous vehicles will have on car ownership and private parking, what might the impact be on rental cars and the car-sharing market?
What Vision Do Car-Sharing Companies Have For The Autonomous Future?
The current consensus vision of the autonomous future is not suitable for all user scenarios. For example, if a user wants to make multiple stops on a journey or wants to take luggage with them the system, as it stands, does not best suit them. Now, whilst car-sharing doesn’t meet consumer requirements the market has more time to plan for the autonomous future, but as consumers come to use autonomous vehicles the demand for them to fulfill all requirements will increase. So how can the car-sharing and rental car market adapt and prepare?
Initially as the use of autonomous vehicles grows and traditional car ownership begins to shift, car-sharing companies can provide autonomous solutions for short term users performing basic journeys. And car rental companies can cater to those who have forgone car ownership but need to make journeys that cannot be fulfilled by autonomous vehicles, for example, long-distance journeys. Of course, once autonomous vehicles become the norm rental car and car-sharing companies will need to be able to offer solutions for both short-term and long-term rental solutions, either individually or through a combined effort. But of course, there is time yet, and solutions for these situations can be developed as the need arises and as technology is developed and improved.
The Impact on Parking
Presumably, by the time that autonomous vehicles begin to dominate car-sharing and rental car fleets, autonomous vehicles will already have become more popular and numerous amongst the general public, and so it is likely that parking will have already begun to adapt to suit their specific requirements. This should make it easier for car-sharing and rental car companies to fit seamlessly into the new parking picture when it has become clearer what that looks like.
To find out more about how car-sharing and car rental companies will adapt to an autonomous future take a look at Medium’s memo on the subject.