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CES 2017: Inspiration Talk.

My car is your car.

  • 11. January 2017
  • Mobility Concept
  • Photos: Daimler
  • Text: Steffan Heuer

Sharing services are remodelling the automotive business. This offers good prospects, too. One of the key topics at the CES 2017 in Las Vegas.

From booking a free floating car in a city with a click to making one’s own vehicle available to others, from hailing a taxi to taking delivery of a shipment in one’s trunk — sharing all kinds of transportation resources is transforming society. And Mercedes-Benz is at the forefront of this radical shift, trying to reinvent the concept of mobility with a host of innovative services.

“Sharing is here to stay. It’s the fastest growing sector of the mobility business. We recognised it early and have been quietly building our own ecosystem,” said Ola Källenius, Member of the Executive Board of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, at the CES tech trade show in Las Vegas.

That’s why Daimler operates services such as car2go with currently more than a million members worldwide, as well as ride-hailing platforms mytaxi and Hailo and on-demand service Blacklane. Those offerings were recently joined by Croove, which lets German drivers privately share their vehicles, and a pilot programme called “Smart Ready to Drop” which turns one’s smart’s trunk into the delivery address for receiving and dropping shipments.

' Sharing is here to to stay. It’s the fastest growing sector of the mobility business. '

Ola Källenius, Member of the Executive Board of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development

New business models

Every car in Daimler’s portfolio will eventually be part of an intelligent sharing ecosystem, said Källenius. “I believe that every car we build should be able to be shared if that’s what the customer wants. Technology will make sharing possible for any vehicle in our fleet of the future.”

This fundamental transformation of the automotive industry doesn’t necessarily spell lower sales since it opens up new business models and drives different types of demand. “There will be a blend of ownership, something that’s still very important in the luxury space. Your car is your third space next to work and home,” the Daimler manager said.

He also pointed out that the rise of e-commerce and on-demand services for goods and even food will speed up the replacement cycle for vehicles and generate demand for vans as well as novel last-mile delivery options such as drones — a concept Mercedes-Benz demonstrated at CES with its Vision Van.

Collaboration with Silicon Valley

Daimler is working with partners such as the incubator Plug and Play Tech Center in Silicon Valley to identify transformative new business models around shared services even faster.

“I’ve had a front seat to the most innovative companies,” recalled its founder and CEO, Saeed Amidi in conversation with Källenius. Google was one of many tech success stories that moved into his incubator with a staff of three and went on to change the world. Amidi compared the transformation around shared services from Airbnb to Uber with the disruption of the mobile phone industry when the smartphone was introduced.

The Plug and Play Tech Center has been working with Mercedes-Benz to identify 280 promising startups from around the world. A shortlist of 22 ideas were then reviewed with engineers in Stuttgart, resulting in more than 10 joint pilot projects.

CES 2017 in Las Vegas – read more on specific subjects here:

Mapping the way to autonomous driving

The learning car

Cars as the central health hub

' I believe that every car we build should be able to be shared if that’s what the customer wants. '

Ola Källenius

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