Owning a car is an expensive proposition, especially for those who use it rarely. The self drive car concept, which is becoming quite popular in India thanks to self drive car companies such as Zoomcar and Carzonrent, is a viable option for those who do not want to own a car but who occasionally want to rent a self driven cars for intra and inter city transport.
Ford has tied up with Zoomcar for a Share-a-Car project, which in the American automaker’s words, seeks to “help consumers who can’t afford a car but want the benefits of owning one. Researchers plan to develop a model for vehicle scheduling and managing ownership. There are a variety of different ways this (share-car) can be done depending on the rules and regulations of the arrangement in a rapidly emerging, congested urban environment. Once the pilot is complete, we will collect data and validate next steps. We will run the programme till we have sufficient data to make business decisions.”
Now, both Ford and Zoomcar remain tight lipped on the nittigritties of the Share-a-Car project, which will commence later this year at Bangalore. The only information forthcoming is that Ford and Zoomcar are collaborating to develop a vehicle sharing model that allows small communities such as office workers, apartment dwellers and families to share a vehicle among multiple drivers.
Since Zoomcar is in the picture, it is highly likely that the Share-a-Car project will involve self driven rental cars. The project is a part of 25 new mobility experiments that Ford is working on globally. These experiments are expected to culminate in insights that will help Ford determine its future course of investments.
Currently, Zoomcar’s Self Drive fleet in India offers cars that can be driven only by the person who rents the car. The service is proving to be quite popular in the bigger cities of India, where many users opt to rent self drive cars for family vacations and get togethers, when the need for a larger car is felt.
Also, self drive cars allow car owners to own a single car or smaller cars instead of having multiple cars or a larger car for that rare occasion when the entire family needs to travel together. Self drive rental cars, in conjunction with a well developed public transport network, have the potential of eliminating car ownership altogether.