With the rise of gTLDs (generic Top Level Domains), I thought I would begin an intermittent series of crystal ball readings on what the new .com revolutions of the 2-year to 15-year future may look like. As I wrote a few weeks back, .family is already in the pipeline for 2013. (I hope to purchase carmine.family as soon as .family gTLD is live.) Some upcoming .boom money makers may continue using traditional Top Level Domains (TLDs) like .org or .com, but as the new gTLD revolution heats up, new .booms will certainly follow. So here goes.
The next BIG Money maker .Car
This is a 10-15 year prediction but the one of which I am most certain. Autonomous automobiles are already here and legal in California and Nevada, and though an entirely driverless robotic car is not likely to be commercially available for at least ten more years, Google already has a fleet of them zooming around the country.
As soon as robocars become affordable very few people will bother to own their own cars. In fact, non-robotic cars will inevitably become illegal for street use since no human would be able to drive on a road of robocars speeding along bumper to bumper at 100 miles an hour. This new robocar technology and some of its implications were described in The Economist recently. I would like to extend their description and predict we will soon subscribe to automobiles like we now subscribe to mobile devices. Kids will no longer learn to drive anything but bicycles and ATVs, and our garages will be used for exactly what they were made for: storing broken junk and small engine toys.
In the upcoming .car era, when it is time to go to work or return home or go to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving turkey, you will simply text your car and it will drive in from a remote parking spot to pick you up. Afterwards it will either drive back to the remote parking location or go on to serve more customers. Parking lots and parking meters will go the way of horse manure, as will most forms of public transportation. No need to find a parking space or worry about falling asleep or even driving drunk. Some robocars will come equipped with beds, and certainly some will have weed and whiskey dispensers, particularly in Colorado. When your robocar needs a repair it will know long before you do and will drive itself to the mechanic without even bothering you about it. If it breaks down outright, another car will replace it within minutes. Robocars will perpetually diagnose their own mechanical problems and will drive themselves to their own mechanics for continual top maintenance. We just get in our robocars and use our mobile devices to pick where we want to go. Speed dial: honey, home, office, bar, skeet range etc. then kick back, have drink and off you go, 100 miles an hour, bumper to bumper. I even predict that most mobile devices will come synced with a few bargain robocars as cheap apps like Angry Birds or BubbleFREE.
The BIG money maker for web designers in the .car boom will be in developing the essential, reliable web sites needed to give customers reliable luxury robocar access and real time navigation along with easy cloud to robocar syncing. Car dealers will become robocar web hosters. They will not even own the cars they host. Maintenance web sites for robocar hardware (the motorized vehicles people will sit in) will also have to seamlessly integrate with wholesale and retail auto hosting sites.
Retail robocar dealers will lease robocars like web hosters now lease webspace. The material steel, plastic and rubber robocars themselves will be owned by the auto manufacturers, Ford, Toyota, Tesla, much like Google now owns the vast networks of mainframes that house the cloud for web hosters and retail users. Smaller wholesale robocar hosters will lease large batches of robocars from the primary manufacturers, and finally driving customers will lease an even smaller retail sets of car types from their retail dealers’ total auto rack-space.
Robocar subscriptions will be similar to our current cell phone service agreements. The hardware will become the cheapest part. The metal vehicles will only provide the platform for all the stuff we really want. Once the customer purchases his or her robocar package, the same type of robocar will pull up every time, but the particular vehicle may change depending on what robocar package the consumer purchases. If a consumer buys a “dedicated robocar package,” that exact car will pull up every time. If a consumer does not buy a dedicated robocar, that particular robocar would never stop running, going from consumer to consumer only stopping for maintenance and repairs. Packages that included a dedicated robocar would, of course, be more expensive since a dedicated robocar remains out of use until called by its dedicated user. But with a dedicated robocar, the consumer could leave something in the back seat and know it would still be there when the robocar returned.
Car hosting web sites will create the packages customers purchase, allow for car exchanges and constant customization of various car packages. No one will own a single car, but pay car hosters for access to a variety of models. Rather than simple web hosting, there will be car hosting conjoined with web hosting. Each car will simply be another mobile device, another piece of replaceable hardware that operates in conjunction with all the driver’s other mobile devices. Sync your phone to your herd, Cowboy! Wild Bob’s Wild Rides! We have 62 fantastic models. Choose your package of rides: bargain package, three models–one for yourself, one for the kids one for that special date. Deluxe package: all 62 robocar models! A different vehicle for every mood and need, including the popular Cross Country Redneck Big Rig: beds, beer and bucking bronco all inside. You may never want to arrive!
Next Time .God