foraging friday

Uber driverless cars

March 20th 2015
Author -

A few weeks ago we introduced you to AirBnb and how it is helping tourists find unique and cheaper accommodation and letting people with surplus rooms or houses make use of them. 

This week we are going to discuss surplus cars. For most of us our car spends most of its life stationary. It gets driven to work, parked all day, driven home, parked all night. You might do the school run, groceries. You pay rego, fuel it up, maintain it so it can sit in a car park. It is an expensive and underutilised resource. Uber wants to use cars more efficiently. 

How it works

  • I need to get some groceries. I log into Uber on my mobile phone and put in a request that I would like to be picked up and driven to the shops. The app uses my GPS location for the pickup.

  • Drivers operating in the area get a notification on their phone and they can accept the trip.

  • On the app I see the driver that has accepted, I see his car on a map and how long till he gets here.

  • I get picked up and driven to the destination.

  • The app debits the my credit card and the driver gets his account on Uber credited. No payment in the car, no cash, no card.

  • The driver rates the passenger and the passenger rates the driver. 

How is it different from a taxi?

  • Anyone can be a driver (after going through an approval process with background checks).

  • The driver can work when they want. If they want to work from 10am to 2pm they just turn on the app and wait for a trip.

  • Drivers and Passengers are rated. Good drivers and good passengers get more trips.

  • The money is all handled online in the app.

  • Technology like GPS, maps and arrival times, makes the process quicker and easier.

  • Price for the trip is determined by supply and demand. Lots of drivers, lower prices for passengers. In high demand times more drivers are attracted by the prices. 

Uber are developing more cool technology too. You can 'car pool' a trip. If you are going to the airport as a passenger you can click whether you would like to pick up other passengers. It might be a detour but you save on the fare. At the destination the cost is split by the app online. 

Who needs a car?

So instead of paying for a car, rego, fuel, maintenance, insurance, you just pay for the trip you need to make. 

Uber is available in most Australia capitals and a few smaller centres with plans to roll out across Australia over the next year or so.

Uber Sydney


Now in the future you can image this process being carried out by driverless cars. You request the trip on an app, a car pulls up and takes you where you want to go. 

Uber is not the only business in this space. Lyft, ingogo, goCatch, sidecar, curb. Google is creating an on-demand car service and driverless cars. 

Travis Kalanick is a cofounder of Uber. Below is a video presentation by him about their entry into Europe, legislative problems, and their philosophy about City Transformation



The world is changing fast. Technology is making services better. Companies like Uber are making vast areas of traditional business obsolete. Where does your business stand?

Contact us today to discuss your options online.