Remember the old “Yellow Pages” ad when you were encouraged to let your fingers do the walking. Now it seems that you may be letting your fingers do the driving. Autonomous driving, electric cars and ride-hailing apps from Silicon Valley, like Uber, are reshaping transportation. Young people no longer feel as compelled as previous generations to own cars. Experts in the transportation sector are changing rapidly. The whole “mobility market” – transportation as a service – is just at the beginning.
In Germany, under an initiative called Industry 4.0, they are striving to help the country thrive in a smartphone world. The future of Germany as an industrial nation depends on how companies succeed in bringing the manufacturing and digital worlds together. Industry executives there often cite how Apple’s iPhone quickly erased Nokia’s once-dominant position in the mobile handset market, and they are determined not to let something similar to happen to them. Google is also entering the driverless car market. Their market value is more than double that of BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen combined. So instead of owning and driving your own car, you may soon find that your smartphone could be the best means of “ride-hailing” you have. It will enable you to chose the most convenient means of vehicular travel available to you at any given place and time.
But I wouldn’t get rid of your new BMW, Mercedes, or Volkswagen quite yet. Maybe you can become a ride service provider yourself. You can let your passengers work/play on their iPhones while you enjoy the ride. That may even be more fun.