The year of 1886 is considered the birth of modern cars. Ever since then, the automobile industry has faced constant changes as companies release new automobiles with the latest hardware. However, the biggest innovation in the industry has been realized with software. The development of the software displayed endless possibilities of the automobile industry, overcoming mere repeated competitions of improving car performance.
With the application of software technology such as AI, IoT, and a cloud system, the world has introduced a new business model, Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). With the rise of MaaS, consumers are changing their views about the role of transportation from a simple means of travelling to an overall transit service necessary for everyday life.
The MaaS movement is gaining momentum in response to the issue of urbanization. The world’s population is constantly growing while the urban population is increasing, inversely proportional to the agrarian population. This inevitable result of economic growth has led to future concerns such as traffic congestion and environmental degradation.
In response to continued urban density, MaaS has been introduced as an effective alternative. With its features of easy access and openness, MaaS has attracted a myriad of consumers and placed in everyday life. Along with Uber, which provides its service in more than 70 countries, numerous firms are expanding their influence in the global market.
Korea, as one of the countries with the highest smartphone penetration, is also a highly lucrative market where many vehicle sharing or MaaS companies are competing. SK Telecom has been contributing to the propagation of MaaS in Korea with the renewal of its app on June 26, 2018, ‘T map Taxi’. The current number of taxi drivers who use the ‘T map Taxi’ app has rapidly grown and reached over 102,000 to date. Given that the total number of taxi drivers is approximately 270,000, this means that 40 percent of total taxi drivers are using the app.
With growth in the number of taxi drivers joining the ‘T map Taxi’ service, the success rate for drivers and passengers to be matched has increased by approximately three times since June. On the upswing in expansion of the users, SK Telecom is planning to increase the total number of ‘T map Taxi’ users to 5 million by 2020.
One of the key factors that brought to the success of ‘T map Taxi’ is the app’s interconnection with the nation’s most popular navigation app, T map. Since many taxi drivers are already using T map, they naturally prefer its MaaS app as functions are generally what they are already familiar with. Along with high accuracy of providing the shortest routes to the destination, the feature of matching customers within their closest proximity are all reasons why taxi drivers favor the T Map Taxi app.
Furthermore, many taxi drivers and customers have adopted the ‘T map Taxi’ service due to its safety related feature, developed via SK Telecom’s ICT technology. This function allows customers to share relevant information such as the current location of a taxi and estimate arrival time, with family members and friends. As observed in a report, 28 percent of ‘T map Taxi’ users have used the app, which has been designed to resolve safety concerns and has been identified as a family-friendly app.
The development of MaaS technology will lead to innovations which will affect the automobile industry and everyday life in more drastic ways. The concept of owning cars will be nonmainstream, in accordance with the lack of parking spaces in urban areas and the growing familiarity of MaaS apps among younger generations. More importantly, driverless, door-to-door transportation will prevail with the commercialization of self-driving vehicles. As autonomous vehicles will be essential transportation devices to relieve traffic jams and reduce the number of automobile accidents, these vehicles will replace most of current driving customs and have synergy with MaaS in fostering the driverless-MaaS industry. SK telecom’s hefty investment of funds and continued effort to construct a New ICT ecosystem shows that its will further contribute to the advancement of the MaaS industry.