Technology - Everything on Demand — with an App

By Robert Roman

10/01/19

Ride hailing is described as a comfortable method for door-to-door transport. These services use online-enabled platforms to connect between passengers and local drivers using their personal non-commercial vehicles.

Conversely, ride sharing or carpooling is the sharing of a car trip so that more than one person travels in a car. For example, Uber and Lyft began as commercial ride-hailing services and later entered the ride-sharing space by offering carpooling service.

According to tech blog Wired, the ranks of companies offering ride-sharing services have swelled far beyond Uber and Lyft, past self-driving gurus like Google sister company Waymo, and past even the established automakers.

Reportedly, companies like Bosch acquiring American ride-sharing startup SPLT; Sony partnering with Tokyo taxi companies; and Avis, which purchased ZipCar (car sharing) working with Waymo to support a self-driving taxi rollout in Arizona, have jumped in.

The reason for this is the supposition of pundits that personal car ownership will plummet in the coming decades. For example, the share of Americans aged 16 to 24 who held a driver’s license dropped from 76 percent in 2000 to 71 percent in 2013, while car-sharing memberships grew. This is especially the case in big cities where rent is high and parking is dear.

Of course, such a trend would be troubling to those who make, sell, and service vehicles.

According to Aarjav Trivedi, CEO of Ridecell, a company that sells car-sharing, ride-sharing, and autonomous fleet management technology, commercial viability of shared mobility requires matching the driver and the app, but also everything else such as charging and fixing the car to cleaning the car to building the car better.

For example, researchers find the amount of dust and germs inside ride-sharing vehicles is five times greater than that in taxis or rental cars. Consider the potential cumulative effect of an increasing number of ride-hailing/sharing drivers that might wash as much as twice a day via an unlimited plan.

Moreover, since ride-share services are nearly in constant use, growth in these services would create more demand to wash the exterior and clean the interior of vehicles on a 24-hour basis.

Consider my daughter and her peers, over 30 years my junior. They place value on the convenience of owning a car but don’t think twice about taking an Uber ride. The car is basically a mode of transportation to get from point A to point B, and the importance of washing and cleaning their cars is for many of them an after-thought.

However, they are first to complain that the inside or outside of the Uber car was grody looking.

Arguably, a generation that places less value on car ownership and cleaning cars themselves would have implications for the car-care industry.

For example, Baby Boomers represent one third of the U.S. population. Boomers are past prime earning years. As they age, they will drive fewer miles, own fewer cars per household, and wash less frequently.

Generation X will take their place and they account for far less of the population at about 20 percent.

This leaves the Millennials, which also represent about one third of the U.S. population.

According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials are projected to surpass Baby Boomers next year as the largest living adult generation in the United States, and approaching the Boomers in their share of the American electorate. Consequently, Millennials will exert more and more influence on how commerce is reshaped moving forward.

Consider the implications of digital technology. For example, mobile apps and digital networks facilitate almost everything on-demand, from logistics to food delivery to car wash, and even beauty services.

Today, people can buy almost anything easily through their smartphone without having to go to the actual stores, and we can receive products within hours with the help of an instant courier.

In the future, we could expect further innovation such as an unmanned store (or car wash) that will transform the way people shop.

 

Bob Roman is president of RJR Enterprises – Consulting Services (www.carwashplan.com). You can reach Bob via e-mail at bob@carwashplan.com.



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