The global shared mobility industry is experiencing a hard time. It is since 2019 that shared mobility enterprises have been exposed to financial fragility and have closed down one after another amid a nosedive in financing amount and rounds. The COVID-19 pandemic makes things worse. Shared mobility companies such as Uber and Lyft have cut jobs, while many automakers and Robotaxi companies have dabbled in the shared mobility market.

Tan Yi from GoFun believes that Shared Mobility 1.0 refers to the current public transit system, 2.0 means the new formats -- ride-hailing and timeshare rental occurring now, and 3.0 represents the application of autonomous driving in the future.

Shared mobility is closely related to autonomous driving. It is difficult for both of them to make money at this stage.

By 2030, the global Robotaxi fleet market will be worth at least US$2 trillion annually, 12% of new cars will be sold to Robotaxi fleets globally, and 26 million Robotaxis will be in operation, as estimated by UBS Evidence Lab.

To have a bite of the future shared mobility market, the giants have offered subsidies to squeeze small and medium-sized mobility firms. Only the full exertion of autonomous driving can make the shared mobility market scale up, but the current immature autonomous driving technology, regulations and business models makes the goal impossible.

The shared mobility market is the battlefield of vibrant players who still need fight in alliance. WAYMO has tested Robotaxi for ten years. BMW has been groping for shared mobility business for almost a decade, but it eventually allied with Daimler to push on deeper cooperation on autonomous driving and shared mobility.

A study by General Motors shows that the cost of shared mobility will be slashed from $ 3 / mile to $1 / mile through autonomous driving by 2025, thereby diluting the operation cost through a large scale. After 2030, the mobility mileage of Robotaxis will constitute 75% of the total.

That is to say, autonomous driving will not give much impetus to shared mobility until 2025. From now on, it is a challenge for ambitious companies to make a layout in just five years. Looking back at the players’ Robotaxi trials in 2019, we can see that fiercer rivalry is under way.

Trial Operation of Robotaxi

Three major forces are competing for the Robotaxi market, including:
(1) Didi, Uber, Lyft and other mobility platforms;
(2) Waymo, Aptiv, Baidu, and other Robotaxi solution providers;
(3) OEMs. Tesla plans to launch a Robotaxi network involving over a million Robotaxis on the road. Waymo has secured US$3 billion in financing for enlarging the Robotaxi test fleet. Baidu announced in April 2020 the availability of China’s first Robotaxi services which are being offered on mobile apps to the public.

Although a few giants and top Robotaxi startups are making long-term plans, it is still too early for most automakers, most of which have launched their own mobility service brands successively and made attempts in the lucrative but fiercely contested mobility market.