THE BLOG

My Autonomous Car Just Picked Me Up

30/11/2015 15:22 GMT | Updated 29/11/2016 10:12 GMT

Imagine, if you will, we're 15 years in the future.

Your autonomous car, James, has picked you up from the cafe.

"Take me home, James," you say.

It pulls out into the road and drives you home. It's a gentle ride without any stopping and although it feels slow, you know you got home faster than you used to.

You open the door to leave but before you do you say, "Turn on Uber, James."

Uber - in this future - has a car app that allows you to turn your autonomous vehicle into a self-driving taxi.

Your car will drive all night picking people up and ferrying them wherever they need to go, earning you a nice side income. It pays for itself and more.

When you need to go to work James comes home, but not before driving himself / itself to the car wash.

The car app store allows you to install various services, Uber being just one of them. Deliveroo and Amazon are on there too. Between taxi jobs your car picks up parcels and takes them to offices and homes, drives to restaurants and gives takeaways to couples having a night in.

Some people don't do such things with their cars. They like the idea that their car is theirs and not shared - so there's still a few parked on the streets but less these days.

The peer-to-peer car insurance market has disrupted things too. You own tiny amounts of equity in a thousand cars, and a small percentage of profits earned from your taxi work etc. are pooled. Whenever someone makes a claim, money is taken from the collective pool so no more hefty insurance fees.

Driverless cars will become a service rather than a product. It will be more about what your car does than what your car is. Similar to the iPhone, your car will be a platform and it'll be down to the creativity of app developers to shape the future.

What about a Gumtree or eBay app where your car delivers and picks up sales and purchases? A Tesco or Sainsbury's app where your car drives to the store for staff (or robots) to put your groceries inside? A sightseeing app where your car takes tourists round a preset route you decide?

As the technology of driverless cars develops we tend to think only of the vehicles themselves. The applications that will run on them are equally exciting and offer entrepreneurial developers a gold rush of opportunity.