After shaking off the urban transport system and disturb taxi drivers in over 70 countries with a software that allows you to hire private car running, Uber is pointing his horn unicorn for bolder business. Explaining that “unicorn”, in the jargon of the new economy, is not an imaginary being, but a company that launched in the market as an embryo of a big deal, grew and saw its value exceeds the barrier of a billion dollars. Uber, valued at 63 billion dollars, is at the top of the Fortune magazine’s ranking of unicorns.
Well, this “economic beast” acquired in August, Ottomotto – a startup dedicated to a technology called autonomous vehicles because they do not require drivers.
Since last year, in the robotic pole of Pittsburgh, the company maintains a team of researchers – over forty were “stolen” from Carnegie Mellon University – with whom the company has a cooperation agreement – working on the same object: autonomous cars. The company is already testing with the intention to place soon these mindless vehicles available to customers who are willing to use them in transportation. Prior to that, still, Uber purchased deCarta, a mapping software company. What the founder and commander, Travis Kalanick, is targeting? Well, he definitely does not limit his dreams and ambition: he is eyeing a market estimated at ten trillion dollars.
Ten trillion? As well? Kalanick is an exceptionally successful version of the “snake man”. This character was a popular type, a mix of vendor and street artist. He attracted the public attention with an empty bag saying that there was a snake inside. He entertained people with stories and sold drugs for snakebite and other animals. Kalanick, with his application, makes trips to more than 30 million customers per month in nearly 500 cities, without mobilize a single penny on his own fleet of cars and without employing any driver. With this trick, named UberX, he offered a practical and cheaper service than the taxi service solution. After that, he launched UberPool that allows the user to share the transport with other passengers and further reduce prices. With this step, he began to compete not with taxis, but with public transportation. Now, with autonomous cars, the goal is also to get rid of the driver to make even cheaper transportation.
Here we come to such a market of ten trillion dollars. With the current service, Uber has a share of the taxi market whose global revenue is estimated at one hundred billion dollars. With the autonomous vehicle, according Kalanick said to “The Economist”, his intention is to make the Uber so cheap and convenient that it would become an alternative to the private car. Other major technology world corporations are also on this road, investing in autonomous car project, and they are strong competitors like Google, Apple, Facebook and Tesla. The way to realize this dream is also quite rugged and policed by the regulatory state, because the autonomous transport involves the safety of persons. The first wave of disruptions caused by Uber barely begun and it is already witnessing the next wave coming. Fasten your seatbelts.