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商业 - 汽车

无人驾驶汽车时代,Uber这样的公司将成赢家,而汽车巨头们会输

Kirsten Korosec 2015年05月25日

据巴克莱银行的一份分析报告估计,美国目前有超过50%的汽车是用于上下班和接送孩子的。当自动驾驶汽车成为主流时,像Uber这样的共享租车服务完全可以覆盖通勤需求。人们的机动车保有量将下降50%,这将迫使福特和通用这类汽车巨头主动适应或是被动消亡。

    巴克莱银行的一份分析报告称,如果自动驾驶汽车在美国社会占据主导地位,美国的汽车销量可能会猛跌40%,汽车拥有量也会下降50%,这将迫使福特和通用这类汽车巨头主动适应或是被动消亡。

    不过这一巨变也会为科技创业企业和租车公司创造了一些机遇。

    这份名为《颠覆移动性》,由巴克莱银行分析师布莱恩•约翰逊执笔的报告所构想的是,25年后,如果其它因素保持不变,而绝大部分量产汽车都是自动驾驶的,社会将会如何运转。

    显然,这份报告更多是一种思想实验——它需要我们做出大量假设。不过这种预测仍然向我们生动地展示出颠覆性的自动驾驶汽车可能对汽车业和交通运输业带来何种冲击。鉴于谷歌公司计划于2020年正式推出自动驾驶汽车,这种充满未来感的场景其实距我们也并不遥远。

    那么,未来这种情景中谁是赢家,谁又会是输家呢? Uber会抛弃司机,变成一家车队管理公司吗?特斯拉公司打入大众市场的策略会威胁其生存吗?

    不过约翰逊预计,就算无人驾驶汽车一统天下,需要司机驾驶的汽车仍会存在。也就是那些性能出众、或有特定用途的汽车和轻卡仍将幸存——拥有一辆迈凯伦650S Spider却不能开有什么意义呢?

    这份报告估计,美国有超过50%的汽车是用于上下班和接送孩子的。就是在这种纯用于通勤的领域,约翰逊认为共享型自动驾驶汽车将颠覆汽车业。

    共享型自动驾驶(SAV),就像没有司机的Uber——这就是一队自动驾驶的出租车,乘客只需要点击应用就能召车。照此类推,拼上一辆共享型自动驾驶汽车,在不同地点接上不同乘客这种模式也会涌现。

    在旧金山这类人口稠密的城区,无人驾驶汽车的到来将会对传统出租车公司、Uber和Lyft这类召车应用造成冲击,影响程度取决于这类技术导向的创业企业将如何应对。实际上,优步和Lyft在很多方面都已为这一转变做好了准备。这两家公司早已用技术手段将司机和乘客联接起来,而且它们都在提供拼车或汽车共享服务。

    但在城市远郊和德克萨斯州奥斯汀这样的城市,由于它由一个紧凑的中心城区和环绕的市郊地区组成,SAV的兴起可能会带来更大的冲击。德克萨斯大学的研究人员建立了一个基于奥斯汀市实际交通状况的仿真建模。通过运行这一建模,他们发现,每辆SAV可替代9辆传统汽车。与此同时,每辆SAV可行驶63,335英里,约为一般家用车年行驶里程的5倍。

    赢家和输家

    对消费者来说,作为一项交通服务,SAV的经济性会让他们尝到甜头。这份报告预计,SAV每英里的成本只有0.34美元,这几乎要比传统新车使用成本便宜近58%。而如果拼SAV,假设每趟只有两名乘客,那这一成本将降至每英里只有0.16美元。

    但对生产量产车的公司来说,一个无人驾驶汽车的社会将会更具挑战性。这份报告写道:

    “正像马要么成为真正的驮兽(如在牧场上),要么成为富人的玩物,比如汉普顿经典名马展,我们认为一个规模较小的汽车市场也会如此,个人拥有的车要么有特定工作用途,要么就是为了彰显身份或追求性能。而对多数人来说,共享型自动驾驶汽车将取代个人拥有的车辆,就像T型车取代了马一样。”

    In a society dominated by self-driving cars, U.S. auto sales might fall 40% and vehicle ownership could drop 50%, forcing entrenched automakers such as Ford Motor Co. and General Motors to adapt or die, according to a Barclays analyst report.

    This shift will also create opportunities for tech startups and rental car companies.

    The research report, “Disruptive Mobility” by Barclays plc analyst Brian A. Johnson, imagines how society would operate 25 years from now if everything stayed the same except that the majority of vehicles produced were fully autonomous.

    Obviously, the report is more of a thought experiment—and one that requires us to make a number of assumptions. Still, the forecast illustrates how disruptive self-driving cars could be to the automotive and transportation industries. And with Google’s plan to introduce self-driving cars by 2020, this futuristic scenario doesn’t isn’t seem so far off.

    So who wins and loses in this futuristic scenario? Does Uber ditch its drivers and become a fleet management company? Will Tesla’s entry into mass-market cars threaten its existence?

    Even when driverless cars monopolize the landscape, Johnson predicts driver-required cars will still exist. These will be cars and light trucks owned for specific work purposes or for their performance—what’s the point of owning a McClaren 65OS Spider if you can’t drive it?

    The Barclays report estimates a little more than 50% of cars in the U.S. are used for getting to and from work, and dropping the kids off at school. It’s in this purely commuter-daily routes space, where Johnson sees shared autonomous driving upending the auto industry.

    Shared autonomous driving, or SAVs, would be like Uber without the driver—a fleet of robotic taxis capable of picking up a passenger who has summoned the ride with the touch of an app. Taking it a step further, pooled SAVs that pick up multiple riders at different points would also emerge.

    The advent of driverless cars in dense urban areas like San Francisco would impact traditional taxi companies and taxi apps like Uber and Lyft, depending on how these tech-focused startups adjust. Uber and Lyft are, in many ways, prepared for this transition. The companies already use technology to connect drivers with riders and they both operate carpooling, or shared riding, services.

    But in exurban areas and cities like Austin, Texas, which have a compact urban core and surrounding sprawl, the rise of shared autonomous vehicles could have an even bigger impact. Researchers at the University of Texas, who ran simulation models based on actual trips in Austin, found that every SAV on the road could displace nine traditional cars, according to the report. At the same time, each SAV would travel 63,335 miles, about five times the annual mileage of a traditional family car, the report says.

    Winners and Losers

    For consumers, the economics of SAVs, or transportation as a service, is a win. Barclays estimates the cost per mile for SAVs will be $0.34 a mile, nearly 58% cheaper than traditional new cars. Pooled SAVs, assuming two riders per trip, would push those costs down even more to $0.16 per mile.

    For companies that make mass market cars, a driverless society would be far more challenging. From the Barclays report:

    Just as horses have become either true beasts of burden (e.g. on a cattle ranch) or a rich person’s play-thing—we think of the Hampton Classic Horse Shows—we see a smaller auto market, with individually owned vehicles either for work purposes or for status/performance. For the rest, shared autonomous vehicles will replace individually owned cars, just as the Model T replaced the horse.

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