- Carmaker Hyundai and rental giant Enterprise Holdings invested in Seattle startup Migo, a search app that aims to be the "Netflix of transportation," per GeekWire. Migo gives users access to Uber and Lyft for ride-hailing, Daimler's Car2Go car-sharing service, Lime bicycle and e-scooter rentals, taxi cabs and public transportation.
- Migo is free to download from Apple's App Store and the company claims to have more than 80,000 users. The app provides real-time pricing and wait times for rides in more than 75 cities in the United States and Canada, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto, per a statement.
- The Seattle startup raised $9 million from investors including Hyundai's Center for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences (CRADLE) and Clayton Venture Partners, the venture capital arm of Enterprise, whose car-rental brands also include Alamo and National, per a statement.
Hyundai and Enterprise's investment in Migo is another sign that transportation-related companies see mobile technology profoundly affecting the way people get around. The broader idea of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) means that many consumers will avoid the expense of buying, insuring and servicing a car that loses value and spends more than 90% of its life sitting idle, according to some estimates. Instead, these consumers will rely on other kinds of transportation services, including ride-hailing, to get from place to place.
Most major carmakers are preparing for the "passenger economy" that is forecast to grow to $7 trillion by 2050, according to a study by Intel and Strategy Analytics. The automotive industry needs to be ready for the day when people leave the driving to autonomous vehicles and save themselves billions of dollars by foregoing car ownership. Vehicle sharing will be an $800 billion market by 2030 and will partly replace individual ownership, the study forecast.
Daimler yesterday showed off a concept vehicle that can be quickly switched between passenger and cargo versions, making it a possible candidate for MaaS applications, per a blog post. The German carmaker's "Vision Urbanetic" autonomous electric vehicles can be outfitted to seat as many as 12 people or to carry packages. The multi-use concept vehicle follows Toyota's announcement this year of its e-Pallette idea of flexible, purpose-built transports that one day could let consumers summon driverless retail stores for curbside shopping.
Car culture is waning in America with younger generations like millennials showing less interest in car ownership and driving. The share of people ages 16 to 24 with a driver's license dropped from 76% in 2000 to 71% in 2013, according to consulting firm McKinsey. The U.S. Census Bureau found that 9.1% of households didn't have a car in 2015, compared with 8.9% in 2010, a difference that's equal to about 500,000 households.
In addition to investing in MaaS technologies, Hyundai also is developing its in-car commerce platform to provide more mobile features for customers. The carmaker last year teamed with Smartcar to expand its Blue Link mobile platform that lets drivers connect to services such as car washes and in-vehicle parcel and grocery delivery. Hyundai now offers three years of free Blue Link service on almost all new cars that lets drivers use a mobile app to control some vehicle functions like automatic door locks and the ignition, among other services.