Zipcar: autonomous vehicles should not be privately owned

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £2.99.

Zipcar UK’s General Manager, Jonathan Hampson, has said highly autonomous vehicles should not be privately owned in the future, AM Online reported.

He said: “For autonomous vehicles to work for cities like London, they can’t be privately owned, it has to be shared ownership.

“I think when the time comes we will definitely have a part to play with autonomous vehicles and making them available as part of our fleet.”

Jonathan said he believes privately-owned autonomous vehicles would further congest cities with cars making individual trips rather than shared ones.

Autonomous vehicles and access to them through car clubs is likely to play a part in Mobility as a Service (MaaS) which will reduce the need for personally owned modes of transport.

Hampson believes Transport for London (TfL) would have to step in as an independent party to administer MaaS services in cities in the future, as companies are unlikely to share customer information unless it’s going to an unbiased third-party.

A MaaS pilot is already running in the West Midlands with 500 customers.

However, dealers have expressed doubt at how quickly car buyers will abandon the current ownership model and the potential for MaaS to take off with mainstream customers.

Nigel McMinn, Lookers Managing Director, commented: “If you look at the emotional side of things, most people have an attachment to their car.

“They align themselves to a brand, or they want a specific model, trim or colour. It’s very personal.

“Yes you could have tiers of MaaS subscriptions that would give you guaranteed access to a premium brand, but I think those types of customers really want a specific car.”