There are entrepreneurs who will devote their time and energy and investors who will invest their money in interim businesses that will diminish or disappear in the foreseeable future. Two examples are Uber and Luxe Valet. Investors and company founders are naturally hoping to obtain a substantial return before the rug begins to be pulled out from under the company.
Uber is an alternative to a taxi or limousine service and uses a special smartphone app to flag a car. The cars are owned by private individuals. Having been driven by an Uber car in Seattle, I can say that it was a delightful way to travel with a spiffy car and a hip driver who selected good travel music for the intra-city trip. However, will Uber have a long term future? See my comments on Uber in a prior post having to do initially with a Wall Street Journal Article about AI (artificial intelligence):https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/hidden-problem-ai-little-bruce-oberhardt
Luxe Valet is a different sort of business that uses a similar app, allowing users to obtain personal valet parkers on demand. These valets will meet you quickly when you arrive, sometimes via skateboard, when you drive your car into the city. The valet will take your keys, park your car, and meet you at a designated time with your car when your business is finished and you are ready to drive away. Luxe Valet was founded last year by a team of founders, an all-star team of experienced San Francisco developers from Zynga, Tesla and Groupon, who raised $5.5M in seed funding from investors. For more on Luxe, see the recent highly descriptive article in LAWEEKLY by Isaac Simpson, posted Wednesday February 11, 2015: Can The “Uber for Valet” Solve L.A.’s Parking Problems? http://www.laweekly.com/arts/can-the-uber-for-valet-solve-las-parking-problems-5378876
Now, looking forward into the not-so-distant future, when we have autonomous vehicles with substantial artificial intelligence, there will be no need for Uber or Luxe Valet. Regarding Luxe Valet, if you own a car that is autonomous, you will not need a valet to park it, since it will park itself and meet you at a designated location at a designated time all by itself.
As I mentioned in my post as relates to Uber (upper link): “Such vehicles could be owned by a new kind of company or perhaps actually be owned by individuals who service and maintain the vehicles. Just wait and see how problem solvers will innovate and reduce labor costs, eliminating drivers, lowering vehicle weight, and providing superlative service.”
I believe that Uber sees the handwriting on the wall. On February 3, 2015, an article titled: “Uber Turns from Google, Teams Up with Carnegie Mellon University on Self-Driving Cars” by Evan Ackerman was posted in IEEE Spectrum. Apparently, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and its National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) will be working with Uber on research and development “primarily in the areas of mapping and vehicle safety and autonomy technology” according to this article. The author also says: “Looks like Uber wants to start working on its own self-driving cars.” See the link below:
It appears that Uber does not want the rug to be pulled out from under the company by a robotic car. Thinking about where the technology will be going and how this will impact their business in the future, Uber will be working on its own robotic car to try to stay in the game.