Germany’s infamous carmaker, Mercedes Benz, is mulling over the idea of launching a driverless car rental service, allegedly working on a fleet of autonomous vehicles. Marketed at those interested in high end cars but not wanting to own them outright this is clearly another example of the competitive nature of tech firms, especially within the transport space.
Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche says these plans are a direct challenge to Uber:
“This is a concrete development goal of ours,” Zetsche told Reuters at Mercedes-Benz event on the eve of the Frankfurt auto show.
Daimler already has car2go, its own car-sharing service which permits users to locate and rent a nearby vehicle from the use of their smartphone.
“It would be even more convenient if the car came to you autonomously,” Zetsche said.
“And it would be extremely practical if the car2go appeared without needing to be prompted, once my appointment in the calendar had come to an end.”
Money to be made in software
With big brands renowned for their ability to change with the times it appears everyone is trying to get into the software game, with driverless car tech being a paramount focus for many German brands. Interested in all services associated with autonomous driving, such as mapping, car-sharing and car recharging it really is a race to see who can introduce the first autonomous car that actually works well.
Zetsche believes that marrying driverless tech with the rental market will open up business opportunities across the globe.
“I think you don’t need too much imagination to see that by combining these strengths, attractive business models are possible in future,” Zetsche said.
Mercedes has already developed a prototype for their first autonomous car, one that took the press by storm. Pushing competitors announcements aside we have great reason to believe that Mercedes could reign supreme in this alternative market. However, we will not know which brand will win this incredibly contest with self-driving cars not expected to hit showrooms until 2025, mainly down to regulators needing time to decide on liability law.
Let us know what you think, will Mercedes be the first to introduce such a product?