This article was inspired by Bill Murphy Jr’s article recently published on Inc., entitled “Apple, Google, Tesla and Uber: 99 Ways Self-Driving Cars Will Totally Change Everything (Sooner Than You Think)”.
Uber just recently launched self-driving cars in Pittsburgh. Google has been hard at work developing technology and filing new patents. Whether you like to admit it or not, the future is nearly here. And with new technology comes disruption. And with disruption, comes new brand experiences. Bill Murphy Jr’s eye-opening article on Inc. got me thinking about all the change coming and how people currently interact and engage with brands surrounding car culture.
In just the last year alone, I’ve met more people who have given up their cars in favor of public transportation, Uber, or cabs. In fact, I’m one of them. When my wife and I were packing and getting ready to move from Honolulu to Chicago, one of the first things we did was to give up one of my favorite things: my BMW. The BMW I had custom designed, built in Germany, and delivered to the Honolulu showroom. The BMW that we had our in our engagement photos (they turned out amazing!).
While sad to let a car go that my wife and I had fond memories of, we knew it just wouldn’t be practical in Chicago. And while I think back on having the car, I can honestly say I am so much happier without it. I’d rather ride a train, walk, rent a zip car, or catch an Uber to get where I am going.
There is a big shift among Millennials and the next generations. And that is to own the experience, not the car. The fact that Uber is moving rapidly towards a fleet of self-driving cars proves this market exists.
Coming from a brand strategy and brand experience perspective, I am excited to see how this new technology allows for a better experience on the road. Some of my favorite ways self-driving cars will disrupt the world include the following:
Cars will Communicate with Each Other
This is big. Cars are slowly becoming connected to the internet, but cars that can communicate with one another will eliminate many of the problems caused by human error. They will constantly warn other cars of their location, intentions, and even cargo. This will ease the stress of driving for people, who can then relax, enjoy a conversation, or get some work done.
More Cars will Pack in Safely
With cars communicating with each other constantly, they can follow closer to each other, allowing more vehicles on the road. While there are far too many vehicles on the road now, efficient self-driving cars could help ease the traffic woes of today. And get drivers who are drunk or fatigued off the road, saving more lives.
Complete Automation of Supply Chains
From a customer experience point of view (and a supply chain/logistics nerd), this one gets me excited thinking about it. Goods could be manufactured, packaged, shipped, and delivered automatically.
As online ordering has picked up, I have become dependent on tracking and seeing where my packages (or pizza) is in the process of being delivered to me. When an organization doesn’t offer this (like the DMV), it is a frustrating brand experience.
Less Need for Parking
From a development standpoint, parking is one of the biggest wastes of land, especially when designing and planning luxury resort communities or enchanting theme parks. Parking is something that has always been a necessary evil. But imagine that as car ownership declines and self-driving cars increase, they may never need to park. This will enhance current neighborhoods with less cars on the roads, will allow for new infill development where parking garages now stand.
There is a real opportunity to look at existing car-centric developments and reimagine them for people.
Here is how Mexico City is transforming their roads to create clean air.
Much More Predictable Traffic Times
Let’s face it, our culture tracks everything. And with big data and what it can tell us, I don’t think it is going anywhere. Just as trains and planes provide estimated arrival and departure times, your self-driving car will be able to tell you more accurately how long it will take to get to your destination.
Asphalt Communicating with Cars
The internet of things is allowing everything to communicate with everything else. Asphalt will alert cars to road hazards and features, such as the shape and depth of ice and puddles ahead.
More Innovation in Biking
The more people give up control of their physical movement, the more people will likely turn to walking and biking. As streets become safer, more and more people will begin to use other forms of transportation to get around.
What the Future Holds
While I can’t predict the future, it is safe to say self-driving cars are coming faster than some imagine. From a brand experience perspective, it will be exciting to see and watch them evolve.
Imagine streets that were once avoided, now filled with pedestrians and bicycles. The same cities that we interact with each day can be transformed into new, safer areas for everyone to enjoy.
To read the full list of 99 ways self-driving cars will change everything, click here.
Over to You
Are you taking advantage of artificial intelligence to provide exceptional brand experiences to your clients and customers? How can you leverage the self-driving car phenomenon that is on its way?