Ironically, it seems that along with taxi companies, ride-sharing start-ups will also have something to worry about, with the growing anticipation of self-driving cars hitting the road within five to ten years.
If you’ve used Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, oDesk, Kickstarter, or Lending Club, you’ve participated in the Collaborative Economy, ever wondered what’s powering it behind the shiny user interface on the app? The Collaborative Economy is an economic model in which people use commonly available technologies to get what they need from each other.
Google and Uber are building self-driving cars, it’s rumored that Apple is going to be building self-driving cars, Tesla has launched driver-assistance features, and many traditional auto manufacturing companies are advancing their features to include driver assistance and, eventually, automation.
A booming market emerges: The Freelancer Economy is predicted to be 40% of the American workforce in just five years, and the startups that power them have been funded over $10B – and a whole new class of organizations have emerged to support, empower, and connect freelancers.
What if 2015 became the year when the collaborative model didn’t just make it easier to buy groceries but helped emerging economies on their path to inclusive growth? What if it could be a force for social good?
USAA, Uber and the state of Colorado have all taken actions that not only protect consumers but also facilitate the continued growth of sharing economy firms. Their actions demonstrate how Transportation Network Companies (TNCs, such as Uber and Lyft), states (including lawmakers and regulators) and insurance companies can innovate and collaborate to resolve the issues of risk and protection that hinder growth, acceptance and adoption of ridesharing.
Given Uber's prominence in the early days of the collaborative economy, it may seem odd for me to suggest, but I believe a significant decline in Uber's business may be terrific for the long-term interests of the collective consumption movement. My reasoning is that the sharing economy is not simply about more collaborative products but more collaborative companies. Viewed through this lens, Uber simply has not earned its premiere status in this new business movement.