BMW's Car Sharing Service: Planning expansion to 10 cities, starting with 3 U.S. cities in 2016

Looking towards introduction of autonomous vehicles, using RideCell system



Vehicle and member of "ReachNow," a BMW car sharing service started in the U.S. using the RideCell system (Photo: BMW)

  Mr. Michael Cottle (Vice President of Sales and Business Development, RideCell, Inc., which is currently offering car sharing software to BMW), introduced the reasons why on-demand mobility is expanding, as well as the RideCell services at TU Automotive Japan 2016 conference held in Tokyo from October 18 - 19, 2016.

  Centered on Mr. Cottle's speech, this report explains the reasons why on-demand mobility is expanding, the RideCell services that respond to this trend, and the BMW car sharing service that utilizes the RideCell system.

  According to RideCell, in 2050 66% of the world's population is expected to live in urban areas due to an increase in city-dwellers mainly in Asia. On-demand mobility is expanding because the capacity of transportation infrastructure cannot keep up with this increase, and funds are flowing into new mobility service companies like Uber. Car sharing businesses are expected to expand around the world at an annual average of 16.4% from 2015 to 2025. Therefore, many vehicle manufacturers including BMW and Daimler are entering into this business, expecting on-demand mobility to increase their revenue in the future.

  While BMW has been expanding its car sharing service in Europe since 2011, in April 2016, it started a car sharing service in Seattle, U.S. using the RideCell system. In September, BMW also started business activities in Portland and in Brooklyn, N.Y. in November. The company plans to expand into 10 North American cities.

  The Free-floating system is expanding in car sharing, where members can pick up a vehicle close to their current location, and drop off the vehicle at a parking space close to their destination. BMW and Daimler have adopted this system to promote car sharing in Europe and the U.S.

  RideCell is developing its system with autonomous and driverless vehicles in mind. The company has stated that, "We have already established an on-demand system, and are preparing for the appearance of autonomous vehicles." If autonomous driving is realized, the shift towards such on-demand mobility is expected to accelerate further. In July 2016, BMW announced that they will develop fully autonomous driving technology by 2021, and at the same time, establish a totally new business model base for connected mobility using driverless vehicles.

Related report:

The impact of autonomous parking: Autonomous Vehicle and ADAS Japan 2016 (2) (September 2016)