BMW, Mercedes ponder challengers to Uber

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With autonomous vehicles seemingly just on the horizon of actually arriving to consumers, companies in the auto industry are already thinking about how the innovations could radically change how they do business. For example, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are considering a time where they might transform into ridesharing companies, according to Reuters. It almost sounds like the sci-fi motoring world Bob Lutz is predicting.

The German brands foresee a future where some people hail their driverless cars like taxis and use them for short trips. The automakers could run those fleets, essentially making them Uber competitors. In fact, Tesla is reportedly mulling the idea, and Google might be, too. Alternatively, ridesharing services could buy the companies' models directly. "New mobility concepts will emerge with autonomous vehicles, which are robot cars. Fleet management will become a much more significant business," Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW board of management member in charge of Mini, said to Reuters.

With BMW's DriveNow and Daimler's Car2Go car-sharing services, both automakers are already experimenting with alternative ways to get their vehicles on the road. It's not too hard to imagine one of the brand's peppering a few autonomous cars into those fleets someday to test these new theories in the real world. "The ability to use a car, and then walk away is a serious business," Ian Robertson, BMW's head of sales and marketing, said about the future of driverless tech to Reuters.

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