The taxicab has long been one of the dominant forms of transportation in cities around the world. Long back, when technology largely remained untouched, the process of grabbing a cab was never that simple; one had to struggle to arrange for a ride, perhaps by telephoning various taxi companies or moving around the town to catch hold of one. Moreover, factors like exact amount to be paid to the driver, mode of payment, uncertainty about the duration of the ride, etc, caused constant trouble. However, as technology took large steps ahead and consumer behaviour gradually evolved with time, a revolution of sorts took place with the birth of an innovative ride-hailing company, Uber, which completely changed the way people travel around the world. By making taxi services available to the masses simply at the click of a button, the company caused a big-bang disruption in the industry, and rose to become the daddy of the just-born on-demand world.
Technology has been the sole facilitator of this revolution, allowing users to request for a ride using their phone screens, see the driver en route, contact the driver and even follow the trip status. Plus, the payment process was greatly simplified. All this was pretty new and the fact fascinates most of us till date, how a billion-dollar idea led to the evolution of a billion-dollar company, which changed the world for us forever. Currently, Uber has about 8 million users worldwide and had a $69 billion net value in 2017, operating in 83 countries and 674 cities worldwide. The ride-hailing leader fulfills 40 million rides a month and cornered 77 per cent of the U.S. ride-hailing market. Soon after, the industry got flooded with the introduction of various ride-sharing apps like Lyft, Ola Cabs, Sidecar, etc, and there was an additional supply to a once undersupplied market.
As a part of its ambitious innovation and growth plans, the company has already been experimenting with self-driving technology, and aims to launch a fleet of self-driving or autonomously-driven cars in most of the cities that it operates, a technology that would replace human drivers. The project has already been launched in a few leading cities of the world and its success is being tested, before the ride-hailing giant replicates it in other parts of the globe as well. The company has also unveiled its plans to launch flying cars over a short span of time, and is already working on the same, trying to master the idea and bring about another fresh wave of change.
Today, the world is imbued with a number of such start-ups that promise instant delivery of goods and services, just through the tap on a mobile screen. And the list of these goods and services is undoubtedly long, and is only increasing with time. Well, the future of any thing is hard to predict. But one thing is for sure – technology would continue to be a critical pillar to meet the strategic objectives of various businesses. A big thumbs up to the new era!