This Week’s Read: “Baby We Won’t Drive Our Cars: The Future Of Automotive Transportation”

The auto industry is experiencing a period of rapid change.

You hear that all the time, right? Like, every year? But this time, it’s totally true. In fact, you could argue that car companies haven’t been faced with this much flux and uncertainty since the industry’s early days, 100 years ago.

The cause? Technology — lots of it, in many forms, offering many opportunities for change, growth, disruption, and failure.

Think of the auto industry 15 or 20 years ago. It wasn’t too different than it is today. But thanks to the internet, smartphones, and a host of innovations just around the corner, like vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-grid communications, the industry 15 or 20 years in the future will probably look radically different.

We’ve been savoring a recent piece from Techcrunch that considers these kinds of advances and their implications. We’ve read similar articles before, but it’s nice to have a concise consideration of major trends — specifically, ridesharing, electrification, connected cars, and autonomous vehicles — in one place. Here’s a clip:

Uber’s meteoric rise has attracted international competitors, with Hailo, Didi Kuaidi,GrabTaxi,Gett, and EasyTaxi flooding into the European, Asian, South American, and African markets.  Despite ongoing regulatory disputes, Uber and its horde of fast followers are rapidly overturning the traditional taxi industry and expanding the market for point-to-point urban transportation in the process.  As these companies grow, more urban dwellers will forgo the high costs of owning and maintaining a car.

Meanwhile, declining vehicle ownership opens up possibilities for complimentary business models.  Companies like RelayRides expand vehicle access by letting people without cars rent from neighbors, while startups like Chariot and Via make commuting easier by offering busing and carpooling platforms that respond dynamically to commuter demand.  Another recent, Scoop, goes even further by matching employees commuting from the same neighborhood to the same office park, removing the need for on-demand drivers entirely.

Enjoy the read — or be terrified by it, your call — as you ease back into your work routine.