BMW eyes new business opportunities with autonomous cars
German carmarker BMW is preparing to rethink its products, design and business models for the advent of driverless cars, a board member at the Bavarian company said on Tuesday. Peter Schwarzenbauer said the competitive advantage for premium carmakers will be rooted in their ability to offer a portfolio of transport options far beyond just selling a car. The ability to hail an autonomous car instantaneously may lead to a convergence between business models being offered by taxi services, limousine rides and car sharing, Schwarzenbauer, the BMW board member responsible for the Mini brand, told Reuters in an interview at the Frankfurt car show. How well premium carmakers do will depend partially on how quickly a customer’s desire for transportation can be met. “If it is going to be within three minutes, then I need a certain volume of cars to make that happen. Whether BMW owns these fleets our outsources the business is an open question,” Schwarzenbauer said. “New mobility concepts will emerge with autonomous vehicles, which are robot cars. Fleet management will become a much more significant business,” he said.