The future of car ownership

How will we drive and own cars in the future?

Fed-up with owning a car and paying running costs? It might become a thing of the past with the offerings of companies like DriveMyCar.

DriveMyCar is a peer-to-peer car rental platform, where vehicles can be rented directly from owners and is now operating in Brisbane and Sydney.

The system works by allowing car owners to earn money from their vehicle when not in use and renters get access to a vehicle only when needed.

RACQ Principal Transport Economist Susan Furze said new ownership models could become transformative.

“Households could save thousands each year in transport costs,” she said.

“If households can get rid of the second car that is only used a few times a week – and even get rid of the main car that sits idle and is parked 90 percent of the time – they have a big opportunity to save.”

RACQ Manager Motoring Advice Joel Tucker said there was a lot of interest across the automotive industry in providing online experiences to consumers. 

“Businesses need to be where the consumers are – and the automotive industry is no different,” he said.

In RACQ’s latest podcast, Professor Paul Salmon from the Centre for Human Factors and Socio-technical Systems, Dr Rebecca Michael, Head of Public Policy at RACQ and Professor Andry Rakotonirainy from the Centre of Accident Research and Road Safety discuss the future of motoring.

Dr Michael said she believes motorists are currently seeing the biggest disruption in transport since cars were first invented.

What we see around the world is all sorts of global mobility trends and lot of potential, but there is still a lot of innate uncertainty,” she said.

“So I think the big challenges is knowing which of these trends will take off and where do we put our investment.”

Prof Rakotonirainy said the technology being developed is very exciting but there was a big difference between creating a robotic car and putting it on public roads.

“The main issue we will face is a transition period in which the public roads will have different type of cars: semi-autonomous to autonomous and normal cars, and how these cars all interact with other road users and between them,” he said.

“This is a big unknown.”

Prof Simon agreed, but, raised some concern about the liability of crashes and who would be held responsible in the event of a crash involving a robotic vehicle.

“We’re doing research which is looking at people's perceptions of blame when a crash happens with an autonomous vehicle versus a non-autonomous vehicle,” he said.

“Say there’s a crash and a cyclist is killed, people's perception of blame is then going shift, obviously from what it is now, on the driver, to car manufacturers or even to government levels.

“So you'll see the shift in who people see is responsible for road deaths, which is really quite interesting.”

To hear more from RACQ’s latest podcast around the future of motoring listen here.