Artificial Intelligence

Along for the Ride

What will you do while your car drives itself?

By Kate Pavao

Fall 2017

Ridesharing companies are already finding ways to occupy passengers’ time—and make more money. Passengers can buy snacks from onboard vending machines—sometimes even trading their personal data for snacks—and, in the case of some Lyft customers, use the company’s app to schedule late-night Taco Bell stops along the way home.

Now as self-driving cars begin to hit the road, they will bring even more market opportunities as everyone on board becomes a passenger—and a potential customer. Autonomous vehicles will free up 250 million hours of commuting time, according to Intel research. How will we use that time?

It’s possible that passengers will watch ads in exchange for traveling for free, says Frank Rinderknecht, founder and CEO of Rinspeed, a creative think tank and mobility lab for the automotive industry. Or, more likely, “mobility service providers will use loyalty programs, like the airlines, so depending on your status you get free connectivity—the latest Amazon Prime films or Netflix or whatever—and if you’re a basic member you pay for it or have to watch ads.”


The predicted size in trillions of dollars of the passenger economy by the year 2050

Source: Intel


Rinspeed has offered up another option. The Oasis concept is a living room on wheels with an armchair, a windshield that can display augmented realities, and even a little garden. Of course, the Oasis still features technology, such as a virtual assistant that can help passengers make dinner reservations at a nearby restaurant recommended by Facebook friends or post photos of the world passing by on their Instagram feed. “It’s all up to the user,” says Rinderknecht of how passengers will spend their time moving forward. “It’s like in an airplane or on a train; some people work, some people read, some people snooze off. You should have the possibility to do whatever you desire at the moment.”

More at

Photograph courtesy of Rinspeed