The taxi industry was revolutionized with the onset rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft. This revolution forced taxi companies to pivot their operations with modern technology. For one, they had to make their processes more transparent.
The industry is facing another possible revolution with the coming of robotaxis. This disruptive force is thanks to advanced artificial intelligence. The technology might potentially see the end of private car ownership. Instead, passengers will depend on fleets of automated vehicles in their day-to-day traveling.
It is still too early to predict the eventuality of robotaxis. However, you are set to see them fully operational sooner rather than later. In January 2022, China’s AutoX, which Alibaba backs, declared it had constructed a production line for level 4 driverless robotics. It claims the facility is an excellent step for the autonomous vehicle, and a first of its kind in China.
Also, Zeekr and Waymo announced in January that they would be combining efforts to build robotaxis for the US market. Zeekr is an EV brand that launched in 2021. On the other hand, the development and design of the robotaxis are ongoing in Gothenburg, Sweden. Zeekr is applying a proprietary EV architecture that is also open-source.
Global Robotaxis Competitive Landscape
There are many companies currently in the robotaxi market. In addition, some notable multinational companies have also joined the race to acquire a market share in the robotaxi industry. Some prominent players include Volvo Group, Waymo LLC, Tesla, Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor Company, Uber Technologies, Baidu AutoX, Toyota Motor Corporation, BMW AG, and many others.
These companies are focusing on creating a wide range of EVs which will have the capacity to suit the end-users. They are also researching to develop the best solutions for self-driving vehicles. For instance, the US-based autonomous company Waymo came up with a robotaxi with no steering wheel in December 2021.
There are also many mergers and acquisitions in the EV industry as the companies try to emerge at the top. For example, WeRide entered a partnership with GAC Group in December 2021 to commercialize robotaxis.
Millennials and EVS: Are They More Likely to Employ Robotaxis?
The conversation around automated personal vehicles a decade or so ago would be different from today. Then, most people believed that fully automated vehicles would decrease mainly due to young people failing to associate with them. Well, hold that thought.
Jerry, a company that connects customers to car insurers, conducted a 2022 finding of the State of American Driver Report. The survey showed that millennials aged 25-30 years are the most eager to go electric. They are followed by Gen Z aged 16-24.
On the other hand, the report shows that boomers are least interested in going electric despite noting the impact on the environment. Gen Z mainly wants to go electric because they deem EVs cool.
On the issue of autonomous vehicles, a good proportion of Americans still have doubts if they will ever use one. Gen Z was the most eager to use autonomous vehicles. However, this may be difficult since there is no assurance that Level 5 fully autonomous vehicles will be in the market.
On the other hand, millennials are innovative, technologically savvy, ambitious, and eager to make the world better. One of the ways they are hoping to achieve a better world is through environmental responsibility. We, therefore, expect there will be a higher level of acceptance among millennials when the taxis are finally out.
Of course, acceptance will depend on many factors, with convenience being one of them. However, the pricing will also go a long way in influencing millennials to hop on the robotaxis bandwagon.
Autonomous vehicles will bring about significant gains environmentally and socially. At the same time, there’s no telling how many driverless accidents to expect as the vehicles come into the mainstream.
For instance, there were 2,800 fatalities from crashes in California in 2013. This number increased to 3,606 in 2019. Negligent behaviors were the main reason for these fatalities. Automated vehicles are set to reduce pedestrian fatalities by eliminating human errors. However, we can’t know until we begin gathering and interpreting meaningful data, which can take years in the making.