Excuse me driver, can you slow down on the ads?... Self-driving cars are the most-talked about things that don't exist yet since the "phase one" US-China trade deal. But Alphabet geared up to make robotaxis a reality last week by launching its Waymo app in Apple’s App Store (it's been chilling already in the Google Play store since April). With the arrival of self driving cars, what happens to the drivers? Well from the way things look they will be unemployed.
1 year ago: People in Phoenix (aka Phoenixians?) could become early adopters of Waymo, but they first had to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements. About 1,500 people have taken 100K+ rides so far, usually with a human safety driver behind the wheel (just in case).
Today: Both iPhone and Android users can download the Waymo app and join a waitlist. It's still only available in the Phoenix area, but they've started doing rides with nobody behind the wheel at all.
Whoever offers Robotaxis first will probably win a ton of business... Our rough math estimates that a $10 ride becomes a $5 ride with self-driving cars:
$10: The fare of our simulated Uber ride.
$7: The rough amount the driver gets to keep.
$2: The amount needed to cover gas, insurance, and the car payment.
$5: The cost of the driver. This is the number that vanishes with robotaxis — roro-rides could become half the price of human-driven Lyft or Uber rides.
This could be Google's last moonshot... Waymo was born in Project X, which is a lab for Googlers to dream up "moonshot" projects that have nothing to do with Google’s core business of online search ads.
But Google's co-founders retired last week, and its new leaders could focus on profit-making businesses only — not the kumbaya projects that ex-leaders Larry Page and Sergey Brin championed.
Yet it looks like they raised a profit puppy with Waymo — the robotaxi service is estimated to be worth $105B. That's 8 times as much as Lyft.