The news that caught my interest this week was about Uber launching its driverless car service in the US on an experimental basis. What initially started off as a technological experiment by some companies like Google has now become close to reality with multiple companies putting their hat into the ring. What started to intrigue me was: is driverless car a mere technological innovation to showcase technology or is there some business value to it. On some deep thoughts, I could think of a few possible business cases where driverless cars might be helpful in the near future.
Aggregation with Marketing
Imagine you are looking up for an offer in your favorite store through Google which is tracking your click-through, page visits etc in the background and you find an interesting offer for you which you plan to avail. The store website might ask you a few basic details to confirm if you are their regular customer and then being their privileged customer, they offer to send you a driverless car for picking you up and dropping you back after your shopping is done based on your current GPS location using Google maps. The store might tie up with Google for offering this service but this might very well be the next step in customer delight and premium customer service
Though the wearables and fitness bands are more a fashion statement now with a few serious users, wearables have a huge potential in the world of healthcare. Imagine people with critical illness and ailments wearing a band that keeps track of their vital medical statistics and sends the data to a central server. Upon observing any alarming condition of the patient based on some preset thresholds, signals are sent to the nearest driverless car to the patient based on their current GPS location and the driverless car is able to pick the patient and reach the nearest hospital based on Google’s maps technology. This could be a boon to patient who stay alone, travel alone or stay far from a medical facility during medical emergencies where they might not be able to call up an ambulance.
Google Now and Siri are the high-tech personal assistants, they can tell you when you are running late for a train you have booked, what routes you need to take etc. Now imagine this gets integrated with Google’s driverless cars. Imagine you are travelling by a train and Google is able to track your train’s arrival time at your destination and send a driverless car to pick you up and drop you at your residence based on your saved GPS locations in Google maps. Maybe the driverless car might come to pick you up when you are getting late for a meeting at office and take you through the shortest path to your office from home.
Lot of valuable data
Imagine if you use the driverless car service for a few times, Google will have data regarding the places you frequently visit like restaurants, offices, localities, malls etc and also the data on the localities you frequently pass by and with all this data Google will be able to provide highly personalized advertisements based fully on your current and future interests making the ads more productive for Google instead of bombarding irrelevant ads to you.
Creating the personal experience
Driverless cars could provide a more personal experience than a normal taxi. Google already knows your favorite music and shows your watch from your YouTube account data, they could use this and offer to play your favorite music while you are travelling or play your favorite show in the screen within the car if the journey is longer. Google could use lot of other data they have been tracking based on your searches and actions to create a more personalized experience.
All these might seem far from reality, while we are still questioning on whether driverless cars can be a reality in crowded places, these are a few of those many things that might unleash the potential of multiple technologies coming together to complement each other. There could be many more that I might not have thought of, you are welcome to add them to the list