General Motors is one of those big long-running companies with a legitimate century-plus worth of history behind it. But being founded in 1908 doesn’t mean it’s too set in certain ways that it wouldn’t think of trying something new. This latest new thing came about in January of this year, in the form of a quality car sharing service called Maven, which provides clients with their choice of brand new vehicles from the company upon request, which the customer can use at their discretion for an hourly fee.
According to Business Insider, this spin-off firm from the greater GM organization has already exceeded several milestones in the first seven months of operation. Now servicing five US cities and with over 5,000 registered user, Maven’s shared automobiles now have a combined mileage of 4.2 million miles driven. Not bad for an outfit that started out with only 40 people.
The secret to success for Maven has been its keen eye for talent. It has aggressively acquired additional employees from computer and tech firms as well as other ride-hailing companies like Sidecar, which was actually bought up by GM shortly before the Maven launch, with a former Sidecar higher-up now set up as their own executive. Its head of operations is Dan Grossman, formerly of another competitor Zipcar. Under Grossman’s lead, Maven is gearing to take its first step abroad within the coming months.
It’s plain to see now that car-sharing companies are going to dominate conventional taxis in the coming years, with the eventual next step being driverless or self-driving service. BMW has been overhauling its own car-sharing platform since May. Elon Musk of Tesla is pushing forward with his company’s plans to open its own car-sharing service with driverless vehicles. GM, through a partnership between its Maven subsidiary and Lyft is doing the same. An estimate by Business Insider’s research arm BI Intelligence sees the full advent of self-driving car services by the year 2020.
It’s going to be a hard and pitched competition getting there however. Existing car-sharing and ride-hailing services are constantly one-upping each other to make enough money to spend in developing an actual working driverless car operation. Service pioneer Uber has already announced its intention to start using self-driving taxi service – though with a human still in the driver’s seat ready to take over in case of an emergency – in Pittsburgh before the month is out.
Back to Maven, for the moment its primary focus is expanding the reach of its service. Dan Grossman states that parent company GM already considers Maven to be a true “global brand”, and is sure that overseas expansion will certainly gain a new market of customers eager to take GM cars for a spin, if only for a while.
Photo Credit to techcrunch.com