One of the biggest tech trends of the past few years is the so-called ‘ride sharing’ economy. Apps like Uber, Lyft, and Gett aggregate drivers with their own cars and use an app to connect passengers to drivers. The industry has taken off all over the world, despite fights put up by taxi drivers and public transport authorities, and much in the same vein as ride sharing, the gig economy has also taken off.
Other aggregator apps like UberEats, Deliveroo, Seamless, and Postmates have taken advantage of the same principle and use independent contractors to provide services to users via an app. As the gig economy expands from just driving passengers and delivering food, the opportunities to use app-based automotive aggregation seem endless.
While the more standard taxi-replacing driving app market is oversaturated, many companies are exploring other types of vehicles that can be used in this way. Uber has been trialing a helicopter chartering service called UberChopper, and Bill Busbice has seen success with HWY Pro, which applies this concept to logistics and trucking.
Virtually any industry with a logistics component can contract out parts of their operation to reduce upfront costs and maximize efficiency. Some discussion has been circulating around using this concept for ambulances and other public services coping with budget cuts and inflated use.
Controversy and Complication
There has been some push back against these disruptors, as unions of taxi drivers and government regulatory agencies see the consequences in their bottom lines. However, many of these companies have adopted a ‘better to ask forgiveness than permission’ policy and fight their battles in litigation after the fact. The social pressure from riders and users who love these services is a point in the favor of the companies, especially when at war with the public sector authorities who rely on tourist dollars for revenue.
Claiming ride sharing and auto-tech apps are perfectly suited to every city in the world is an oversimplification, but in many industries the promise of app technology is an area for expansion that will pave the way for amazing new developments. The market will rise to meet new challenges and opportunities and app developers and start-ups stand to gain tremendously from this new area of innovation.
In many ways, the complications in the auto app economy reflect many larger problems of modernity: regulation, labor rights, and ethical business are hot topics in the tech and business industries, and these battles are being fought all over the world in court cases for automotive apps.