Uber to Eliminate Personal Cars? Impact on Car Industry


Taxi was born almost at the same time when cities and towns filled up with cars – for those, who can’t afford a personal car, but don’t want to use public transport. In the first decade of the 21st century, buses, cars and taxis continue to scurry in the city, but the vehicle industry is beginning to move towards optimization – developed countries are concerned about environmental pollution, traffic jams, while ordinary people are looking for an inexpensive and fast way of transportation. So Uber was born – a start-up company from San Francisco, which literally turned the taxi market. However, not everything is so simple – if you believe that Uber is just a mediator for a taxi service, then you are mistaken.

Where it all started or the history of Uber

Founded as UberCab start-up in California in 2009, the company soon attracted the attention of investors, thanks to its concept of an affordable taxi service that can be called from a smartphone, with almost every owner of a personal car able to become a driver. In 2011, the company was renamed Uber, and its large-scale market conquest began.

Beat the taxis cold

Why do you need a taxi if every car owner can become a taxi driver? The idea of genius in its simplicity and laconism caused a flurry of protests among those who perceive the driving of a taxi as a profession. The largest scale protests were in 2014 in Europe then there were even attacks on Uber taxi drivers. Protests were held in several countries worldwide. As a result, many parts of the world the service was partially or completely banned.

However, Uber prevented to work not only ordinary taxi drivers, but also with all their strength tried to trample competitors who quickly picked up the idea of a cab mediator – Gett and Lyft. At the end of 2014 in New York, Uber employees tried to lure Lyft drivers, and in 2013-2014 used dishonest methods to eliminate competitors, such as ordering and subsequent cancellation.

Security is not their strong point

No one knows for sure whether Uber deliberately left the safe hole or it was a powerful hacker attack, but the fact remains that about 50,000 driver accounts were abducted in 2014, and in 2017 it was revealed that since 2016, 57 million phone numbers of clients and personal data 600 thousand drivers were leaked as well.

What does Uber really want?

In fact, do not take Uber as a kind gentleman who will help you save a little by taxi. This company wants to become a monopolist in personal transportation, and indeed in all areas related to the movement of goods and passengers within the city. Aggressive pricing policy, money pumping by investors, the credo of the company is to win by any means. With a market share of 77% in the US and 40 million orders worldwide for the month (and more than a billion trips just for 2009-2015) – this is a worthy indicator. Uber goes to his goal.

How to achieve the greatest profit? Reduce costs. In the sphere of taxis, there is almost no way to reduce them even more. And what if you remove the main expenditure part – the driver? So there the most important part begins.

Volvo and Uber

Autonomous cars are not something new. Of course, the technology is still in the development stage, but many technological and automotive giants, such as Google, Apple, GM, etc. have autonomous cars tested in full swing. This is a brilliant prospect for Uber – removing the driver, you can seriously reduce costs. As early as December 2016, prototypes of autonomous taxis based on the Volvo XC90 goes to the roads of San Francisco and then move to Arizona due to legislation problems.

This is far from the final implementation, there are two company engineers in the cabin, but this is a big step forward. And this mutually beneficial cooperation – Uber gets cars and technology, Volvo in turn receives unmanned vehicle testing in real conditions.

To the skies!

Uber also invests in truly futuristic technology, like autonomous aero-taxis for large cities. Such an air vessel must be fully electric, with vertical take-off and landing, for flight to relatively short distances. Prospects for the appearance of this type of transport are very vague but still possible.

Where’s the money from?

At the very beginning of its appearance, Uber attracted $ 200,000 of capital, but then cash injections into the company began to grow in leaps and bounds, and in 2013 the company itself was estimated at $ 3,4 billion. The company was supported by such giants as Google and Toyota, as well as several large financial funds. In the end, for all the years of the company’s existence, about 11.5 billion dollars were invested in it.

Market bubble or the future of transport?

Despite the dominant position in the market, Uber is still unprofitable, and its losses are increasing year by year. Astronomical figures of 2.8 billion dollars a loss a year can be shocking. Among analysts, opinions about Uber differ – some consider it a future monopolist, others predict a quick collapse of the financial bubble.

Anyway, what does Uber dominate for the average person? Probably, the classic taxi with the hired driver will remain in the past. Their place will be occupied by driver-less cars, which will carry out orders around the clock, stopping only to recharge the battery. Cars of mail, courier service and delivery of food, can lose drivers too.

Either way, Uber will significantly affect how we will see the car in the near future. Maybe there won’t be any need to own a personal car.

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