#1 Jaw dropper
Google has just invested $250M in Uber. It’s not the number that’s interesting, it’s the strategy. Why? Because of the Google Self-Driving Car, that driverless wonder. The Google car team has completed over 1,000,000 accident-free kilometres (minus one rear-ender). Typically they have about a dozen cars on the road at any given time, and are starting to test them with single drivers instead of in pairs. Four US states have passed laws permitting autonomous cars as of December 2013: Nevada, Florida, California, and Michigan. Texas is about to join.
Can you picture how this will change our lives?
It’s 7am and you activate your Uber app on your iPhone to take you to work. Five minutes later your Google car arrives at your door. No driver. It’s already programmed with where you’re headed. No driver, no instructions, no cash or credit card.
The next day, with your own Google car in the garage, you head to the airport. It drives you to the airport whilst you catch up with whatever in the back seat, and then drives itself home and parks itself back in your garage…
This is not the Jetsons, it’s just around the corner.
#2 Jaw dropper
Tesla continues to crank their electric cars out at a rate of “more than 600 cars/week”. The company has likely built its 30,000th Model S already (it doesn’t disclose exact numbers). And it’s now delivering 500km from a single SuperCharge battery. Combine the Tesla with a Google car and we’re seeing a very different urban landscape. Petrol stations? Sold off. Electric charging stations in place. You may never stand at a petrol bowser again because your car can drive itself and self-charge at the SuperCharge station.
And this is no start-up dream. Elon Musk is Tesla’s Chairman, CEO and Product Architect of Tesla. He’s already built 3 x $1Billion businesses: President of PayPal; Founder, CEO and CTO of SpaceX; and Chairman of the Board, SolarCity.
SuperChargers by the numbers (so far)
- Gallons of gas offset by SuperChargers: 570,921
- Dollars saved in collective fuel costs: US $2.3 million (double that for the price of petrol in Australia)
- Miles charged: 14,273,033 – enough to circle the globe 573 times
- Cumulative total energy delivered to date: 4.9 million kWh
- Cars charged in the last seven days: 5,196
- Factor by which a SuperCharger charges a Model S faster than at a public charging station: 16
And as always, isn’t it those who have the most to lose that are the most resistant to change? It’s not all clean motoring. The traditional car industry is lobbying hard to make it illegal for consumers to buy direct from Tesla without a third party dealership. Already three states have passed these laws. And three Uber drivers were booked by Police this last month in Australia on a technicality. I think we’re about to see some major disruption. Cabcharge, auto dealerships, oil industry… Who else?
What’s your point of view?
Geoff Slade has worked at the forefront of the Recruitment industry for 50 years. He is the Executive Chairman of Slade Group and was awarded a Centenary Medal for services to the industry.