Blurry car in motionAre on-demand taxis the wave of the future or a temporary trend before automated cars put people back in cars?

The future of car recycling┬álies with those who consume the vehicles. But what sort of future is that, thinking ahead? More and more car consumers are giving up the big car purchase because of on-demand taxi services like Uber and Lyft. It’s altering the car market reality.

The Force Driving the Change

What’s the force driving this change? For one thing, Uber and Lyft present their services as handy transportation. Most people find when they call an on-demand taxi service, they get a fast response, and a ride without a hitch. It doesn’t break the bank either. That level of service has done more than just trump cab companies and limo services. It has made on-demand taxis a preferred mode of transportation. Ordinary people who don’t take a cab ride because of the inconvenience don’t hesitate to call Uber or Lyft. Despite all the bugs, the on-demand taxi system works.

Another reason for the success of on-demand taxi services is that people prefer to ride and not drive. Consumers are weary of sitting behind the wheel during the hour-long commute. As an alternative, the on-demand taxi cost is no deterrent to going to the app and ordering one up. Once inside the Uber car, the consumer gets busy doing productive work, catching up on the Internet news, work papers or whatever they prefer do when they don’t have to drive.

The on-demand taxi service is the wave of the future, but what factors could derail the trend? Smart cars might. Tesla’s current model electric cars are so road-intelligent, sources say the car computer drives the car 90% of the time. That’s in real-time and they’re talking about today. Does that mean the driver opens the newspaper the rest of the time? Not today, certainly, but that’s the goal for the future. The amount of technology currently found in the Tesla will be found in every new car in less than ten years, according to futurists. It may once again make commuting and car ownership the first choice of consumers.

Does that spell the end of Uber and Lyft? Not so fast. Even though investors are jumping on the intelligent car developments, so too are they putting capital into on-demand taxi services. Daniel Cooper in an article in Auto-blog said that Independent and corporate investment in on-demand taxis is many times again NASA’s entire budget. Clearly, many people think there’s a great future for on-demand taxi services.

Self-driving Cars

Self-driving cars, however, are stopping and starting. It doesn’t help the cause of self-driven cars that a recent accident involving a computer-driven Tesla and a Mack truck resulted in the Tesla’s owner’s death. One of the big advantages of smart car technology is the promise of reduced accidents. So while countless lives will be saved in the future by computer-driven autos, in the embryonic stage of development, a death in a crack-up may sideline development indefinitely. Critics and advocates need to do an honest analysis of road-smart technology if it’s ever to take off.

Market forces are also at work in the on-demand taxi service business. It’s creating employment for everyone from housewives to professionals who see it as a new revenue stream. on-demand taxi drivers can double up the Uber fare with the morning commute, the drive to the day care or to errand running. Others find it so profitable, they’re opting to do it full-time. How politicians react to smart car technology in the future may be influenced by the growing number of people employed as drivers of on-demand taxis.

It’s safe to say that both trends in the world of automobiles will affect the future. With more investment, improvements in both on-demand taxi services and intelligent automobiles are a certainty. One effort is not going to derail the other anytime soon. Although hands-free driving may never be as truly hands-free as hiring the Uber cab, the freedom and lower overhead of car ownership will keep the intelligent car on the horizon.

When that happens, what will the on-demand taxi services look like?