BMW Aims to Lead Ride-Hailing Services with its Self-Driving Cars
BMW will do a test phase in making self-driving cars in Munich, Germany from next year as it aims to keep up with ride-hailing companies like Uber, that have already spent billions on the pay-per-use personal transport system. The leading German automaker will introduce almost 40 cars with autonomous functions in Munich from next year and the project will be further expanded to other cities of the country, BMW official said on Friday.
Klaus Buettner, BMW’s Vice President, in charge of Self-driving cars said, “there is a professionally trained driver behind the wheel of every car.”
Uber’s worldwide growth has stimulated BMW in considering to make self-driving cars to help them boost their own push into pay-per-use transport. Software and tech giants like Uber, Lyft and Juno have totally shaken up the old style auto industry business via smartphone based ride-hailing services. Moreover, traditional car companies are making their own ride-hailing schemes, as well as making an investment in autonomous driving technology.
“Ride-hailing services is nothing more than manual self-driving,” said Tony Douglas, Strategy Head, BMW’s services said. “Once you assign the car with the driver you have got the license to print money” he further added.
BMW has already made vital progress in the penetration of car sharing saturated market by introducing its own service of ‘Pay by the minute’ known as ReachNow in Seattle. We got a sign up from 14,000 people in just 4 days, with a market already covered by Uber, Zipcar, Car2go, and Lyft, said Douglas.
“Someone else spent their money to educate the ride sharing market and then we entered in with a cool product. We won’t be considered as the largest, but we aim to be the coolest,” Douglas said.
BMW aims further expansion in not just using its expertise in making luxury vehicles, but also considering its ability to manufacture, own and manage fleets of such cars in ride-hailing services. Companies like Uber are not operating their own fleet of vehicles. Owning your own fleet makes it specific that you can make lucrative offers that Uber and others are unable to provide. For instance, car sharing service provided to a specific community only, CEO BMW Harald Krueger said.