Ridecell is on a new mobility mission: ownerless and sustainable autonomous transportation. Ridecell has focused on this shift in how people get around since 2009. Its platform now enables car-sharing, ride-sharing and ride-hailing businesses at scale.
Mark Thomas, Vice President of Marketing at Ridecell, spoke at several conferences this year on a wide range of new mobility topics. Here are his answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
How do you define new mobility?
There is no doubt a fundamental shift is happening in the way we use transportation. We are moving away from a traditional model of self-owned, self-driven cars toward a new system centered around autonomous vehicles and shared mobility, especially in urban areas. To put it simply, new mobility redefines the way we move and live.
When you drive a shared car you picked up down the street, decide to grab a scooter on your way to work or pick up your smartphone to connect with a driver to get to the airport, each and all of these actions are examples of new mobility. Think of it as the juncture of on-demand new technologies (electric vehicles, semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles that communicate with each other and the traffic grid) seamlessly integrated with other transit methods.
How will new mobility impact individual car ownership?
While the total number of vehicles sold may not change dramatically from the total number of vehicles sold today, the composition of who is buying those cars will change considerably. We expect the shared mobility fleet owners to buy increasingly larger percentages of vehicles, especially in urban markets. As shared mobility becomes more convenient and also less expensive, car owners will use their vehicles less and less, leading some to decide they can do without owning one or more vehicles. Just like many people have boxes of unused CDs in their garage, listening instead to on-demand music, vehicles may also sit unused in garages, displaced by on-demand transportation.
Will certain aspects of mobility be limited geographically, such as in urban areas?
Urban areas are the low hanging fruit for shared mobility. Parking is expensive, insurance is expensive, and traffic is often bad. So yes, we expect the changes to take off first in urban areas and then gradually spread to the suburbs and beyond.
Is autonomous vehicle technology a prerequisite to entering this space or at least a prerequisite to profits?
The shift to autonomous vehicles is undeniable–with billion of dollars invested in R&D and acquisitions– but it is happening in stages. If shared mobility companies want to remain relevant, they need to enter the market and prepare for it now. Ridecell´s platform can get them there and secure their smooth transition into the autonomous ride-hailing services of the future.
What specifically is your company doing to prepare for changes in mobility now and into the future?
We are focused on shared mobility because it will reduce traffic and parking issues troubling communities. Ridecell supports the rise of the many companies that are looking to offer a shared mobility service. We provide an intelligent software platform that empowers mobility operators, including OEMs, car rental companies, auto clubs, cities, transit agencies, dealer groups, and private fleets to launch their own ride-sharing, car-sharing, and autonomous fleets. We also see two-wheeled micro mobility offerings such as scooter and bike-sharing as part of the shared fleets.
It’s far more cost effective and time efficient for companies to start a service with our new mobility cloud than to try create their own. Ridecell offers an end-to-end platform that companies can adapt and use to run their on-demand services.
What elements of CASE – Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric – are you incorporating into your mobility strategy?
Ridecell sits at the center of the CASE revolution, which is well underway. Electric, autonomous-shared vehicles will soon be our reality. A report by Deloitte predicts that by 2040 shared mobility will accounts for 80 percent of miles driven in the U.S. Ridecell makes the software platform that allows companies today to operate car-sharing and ride-hailing services. Once autonomous takes on, our platform will allow them to transition smoothly into an autonomous ride-hailing service. The Ridecell platform is also optimized to ensure that fleets are always appropriately charged.
What is the role of data in mobility? How is it being used to address shared mobility operations viability?
Data stands at the center of mobility. The effective use of data is what separates services that continue to lose money from those that become profitable. The success of shared mobility providers will greatly depend on who can better access, analyze and manage data, such as real-time statistics. Ridecell´s new mobility platform offers valuable market analytics as well as real-time information to best manage fleets.
Author: Fran Thorpe, Director of Product Marketing, Ridecell