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I had written a post earlier about how sometimes entrepreneurs shoot themselves in the foot by not discussing their ideas in order to validate the demand and market and competition, etc.
The reality is the idea is usually 1% or less of the value of the total- the rest is execution.
Here’s a perfect example. I was talking with a friend and somehow got onto the topic of Uber and electric cars and then driverless cars.
After thinking about it for less than two minutes, we jointly decided this was a fantastic hundred billion plus dollar business concept.
These are the advantages of having our transportation system largely converted to on demand electric cars that drive themselves:
- Cut traffic in half or more as most cars now carry at least two people or more instead of one
- No need to own a car- just buy a subscription based on your need- always have a car available any time to take you anywhere
- Dramatically reduce (virtually eliminate) accidents because there are fewer cars on the road and none driven by drunks, tired people, distracted people or inexperienced drivers.
- Safe independent transportation solution for the elderly who would otherwise be stuck home or driving unsafely
- Increase productivity because now many more people can work during their commute
- Drastically reduce carbon emmissions
- Increase emergency response times because of less traffic and cars that will get out of the way
- With so many cars available you won’t have to wait long to go anywhere and you can go virtually point to point (or pay a premium to ride single with no pick ups or drop offs if you are in a hurry)
- Meet new people and connect socially with others you wouldn’t have otherwise met
- Safer for motorcyclists, bike riders and pedestrians
- No more train vs car accidents
- Safe, reliable, cheap transportation becomes available to everyone increasing access to jobs and housing and other resources that may have been previously out of reach or too hard to get to
You can probably think of more. We didn’t even get into having freight trucks built using the same type of system. Or UPS/FedEx delivery vans using the system. Or the USPS. And so on.
The idea is not the issue here. It is big enough to be attractive to venture capital and certainly big enough to create one of the largest companies in the world (or several) who can be the ones to enter and succeed in the market.
The challenge is the execution. You will have to overcome huge hurdles to pull this off:
- Liability issues and insurance company acceptance
- Government regulation limiting access to the roads
- Objections from incumbent services
- Local government interference
- Complaints from citizens fearful of technology on the roads
- Objections from people who think you will want to take their cars away
- Public fear of the concept any time there is a crash, scare or malfunction (which will happen occasionally)
- Figuring out how to properly monetize this and make it appealing and viable at the same time
And I’m sure these are just the tip of the iceberg.
That said, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this happens in my lifetime and becomes the defacto method of getting around. Carbon fuels are running out and there are simply too many people to give everyone their own car indefinitely- you can only widen roads and freeways so much.
This solution makes sense and will be huge for someone, somewhere in the not too distant future. They will just need to pull it off. Which is where all the real work starts.