Blog: The 'drone taxi' and possible future Uber 'paradox'
Dave Leggett | 9 February 2015
Does it make sense for Uber to be very interested in the business opportunity presented by taking the driver out of the cab? Of course it does; it would remove a big element of cost - the driver. And Uber, we learned last week, is also participating in the development of advanced driverless technologies. It's a considerable way off, but it's something that could be very good for Uber's online/app cabs-on-demand business model. Okay. So far so good.
It may not be so straightforward for Uber though and there is a very good point made in this Forbes article. Uber will continue to develop and grow with its existing model that requires drivers. They are currently at the heart of the business and will be for the foreseeable future, growing in numbers and importance. So, in ten years' time when something like a proper driverless go anywhere 'drone taxi' can actually be introduced to market, there will be a powerful interest group within Uber that will naturally be against them. Turkeys wouldn't vote for Christmas. A new Uber unencumbered by drivers may emerge to exploit the opportunity, but it's quite conceivable that the transition to drone taxis will be a little bit fraught - especially for Uber.
I'm starting to get a small idea of the scale of things here in China, but really, I'm only scratching the surface of this vast country....