BMW is the latest car company to jump into the race to build an autonomous ride sharing service. The Bavarian automaker announced that it will have 40 self-driving cars operating on the streets of Munich next year and will expand the program to other cities shortly thereafter. “There is a trained test driver behind the wheel of every car,” Klaus Buettner, BMW’s Vice President in charge of Autonomous Driving said.
The objective is for BMW to become a major player in the pay-per-use ride sharing market created by Uber. In fact, Uber may have done as much or more to disrupt the automotive industry as Elon Musk and Tesla. It has no factories, distribution network, charging infrastructure, or service centers. Creating a phone app that lets drivers and customers communicate with one another, Uber has been able shop itself at a valuation approximately double that of Tesla Motors.