It’s a Saturday morning and you decide to go to the mall. Instead of jumping in to a $25,000 automobile that most of the time just sits idly in your garage, you take out your smartphone app and punch a few buttons to dial a ride. Within minutes you’re on your way in the comfy area of the backseat with no annoying driver making small talk. You arrive safely at your destination, curb side, all for a few bucks that were automatically charged to your account. You don’t even have to say goodbye.
When you want to be picked back up, you just dial a ride again. The problem is that you need to run many errands and have many stops. All of them will require you to dial a ride.
Not only are ordering rides a hassle, but not owning your own car will leave you dependent on a system that’s controlled by big corporations and big government. This is not freedom. Americans love their cars and ought to be able to drive wherever they want and whenever they want, without restriction and without relying on a service.
This inconvenience and loss of freedom is not deterring big companies though. They’re working to change our society by purging the population of driver controlled cars that cause pollution, that cause traffic deaths, and are a waste of resources. The real reason, though, is to make more money, and lots of it, for their companies. The government is giving them the green light and the race is on.
Major companies are now racing to see how they can capture the $5.4 trillion transportation services market. In comparison, Americans spend only $570 billion each year on new cars. All the big car makers have invested huge sums of capital in driverless technologies along with Google and Uber. The investment is in the billions.
Uber today is worth an estimated $50 billion, which is more that any of the big three auto makers. All of their revenue comes from their transportation service and they do not have large overheads like manufacturers do. They have already perfected the dial a ride technology, but they are still using real drivers who mostly own their own vehicle.
Taxi services have fought Uber since the beginning because Uber has been upending their industry. But this is just phase one of Uber’s plan. Their ultimate plan, in my opinion, is to upend the traditional automotive industry, not only with driverless technology, but to advocate new regulations that would restrict the use of dangerous and environmentally damaging personal driver vehicles. Big government politicians, controlled by donors, could eventually pass legislation to force Americans to use Uber’s service, along with the other winners of the race into this market upheaval.
The stakes are too high for these companies not to pursue. If they don’t go after this new market, then others will capture it and they will be left behind to go extinct like the dinosaurs. It’s not just science fiction or imagination of a distant future, new technologies are making it all possible and soon.
Even though technology is shaping our future, it doesn’t mean that we should surrender our freedom by accepting what these companies are trying to do. We cannot let our political elites dictate that we have to give up our autonomy while we are on the road. Many people who don't drive will benefit from this new technology and it may make sense to others from an economic view point, but we should always maintain our right to utilize these services or not and maintain our right to drive our own personal vehicle or not.