Self-Driving Can’t Come Soon Enough: Uber Jumps Into Toy Transport

As Uber broadens its mission to champion mobility for smart cities, it has started to integrate wildly fun alternative modes of transportation including Bird scooters and JUMP Bikes, which it acquired on Monday for an impressive $200 million.

Both electric and dockless, these toys are providing rides starting as low as $1 an hour for scooter and $4 an hour for bike which will revolutionize the way people think about their daily commute and their physical relationship with the world around them. Not only are these rides promoting clean air, they are accelerating the end of the era of car ownership era which will have a dramatic effect on land use.

At SXSW, Waymo’s John Krafcik shared surprising statistics on the effect car ownership has on our society. “Right now the number of cars in our national fleet in the U.S. compared to the number of licensed drivers has never been so out of whack, we have many more cars than licensed drivers, and the multiplicative effects on our society are pretty huge. Each car has four parking spaces, so you have about 300 million cars in our national car park. At 1.2 billion parking spaces in the U.S., that’s crazy. Some cities have 20-30% of their total land space being dedicated to the automobile which is terrible, and maybe the best indication of the waste in this way of using the automobile is the fact that 95% of the time our cars are just sitting idle. So you have 300 million cars, that’s a massive stock of capital and yet 95% of the time they’re just sitting there, and the other 5% of the time being driven about, typically, it’s more car than we need, 75% of the time we are driving alone.”

Land use transformation is expected to be so dramatic, that visionary Uber founder Travis Kalanick just invested $150 million in City Storage Systems, a startup focused on repurposing abandoned strip malls and parking lots into exciting new spaces that support the digital era.

Keep an eye on the category as more partnerships and acquisitions are expected. Additional companies to watch include LimeBike, Spin, Motivate/Ford GoBike and Scoot. For more details, check out Product Hunt’s test rides.

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