It’s an exciting time to be on the road. Not since the days when humans transitioned from equine transit to machine has there been so much rapid development in the field of transportation. For those who are entrepreneurial-minded, there’s an explosion of possibilities available to innovate within the auto industry.
The end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st have seen an expansion in technology that is revolutionizing not just what we can create from new, but also how we look at pre-existing products. Today, we look at items not just in terms of function but connectivity. A car is not just a mode of transportation anymore, but a platform.
One of the big shifts in the auto industry is how cars are being used. Many are predicting the end of individual ownership. Heralding that possible future is the popularity of ride and car sharing apps that pool resources. This allows people and governments to save on space, reduce traffic and cut back on emissions. Companies like Uber and Lyft have begun radically changing how we view car ownership.
Another opening door is the promise that AI technology brings to the table. Already being integrated into models for safety features, fully autonomous cars navigating through artificial intelligence are no longer the stuff of science fiction. And with hands off the wheel, there’s a lot of room and time for entrepreneurs and startups to take advantage of within cars for passengers.
On the note of autonomous functions, there’s also going to be a growing market for software and tech that allows for cars to self-diagnose and fix themselves. This, in turn, will transform how the car mechanic/service industry operates.
Who to Keep an Eye On
Because of all these changes, the auto sector is starting to look like the wild, wild West, with new faces popping up each day to try their luck at cornering a section of the market Already there are a few startups that are emerging as strong competitors.
Taking a page from Uber’s playbook, GoKid is shaking up carpooling by harnessing the power of community to provide a safe alternative to ridesharing for kids. SPLT is similarly changing how companies and schools transport people by organizing internal carpooling programs.
A burgeoning market is electric vehicles (EVs) and with them comes the need to efficiently charge up. EV Safe Charge wants to be the one-stop for all charging needs, working with clients to get the stations they need and even grants to cover costs if there are any available.
On the AI side, there are companies like Innoviz and GhostWave that are finding new ways to harness artificial intelligence to increase auto safety. These technologies hope to use radar to allow vehicles to navigate with other cars safely, without interference.
Of course, monetization of car features is not far behind these features as riders will soon either be solely transported by others or by their car’s autonomous features. WayRay will turn car windshields into augmented reality window that can be used to deliver information and connectivity.
Overall, it’s an exciting time to be involved in cars. The once solid model is proving to be elastic, just waiting to be shaped by a creative individual or group.