Amazon Smart-Home Consultations: Gearing Up For An Autonomous Vehicle Service

Building Trust, To Sell More Products and Autonomous Services

With the introduction of Amazon’s complementary Smart Home Consultation service, Amazon is gearing up to launch an autonomous vehicle service.

Amazon started laying the groundwork for an autonomous vehicle service in August 2016 through a partnership with Hyundai. Individuals were able to order a test drive of a 2017 Hyundai Elantra in Los Angeles under the banner of “Prime Now. Drive Now”.

While the program was a pilot program, Amazon was able to gather data and insight into how how consumers would order vehicles and use the service. Similar to the Smart Home Consultation service, trained experts were available to answer questions.

With Amazon’s complementary Smart Home Consultation, experts come to your home for a personalized experience that typically lasts on average 45 minutes. The experts start by learning more about the things you care about most, which gives Amazon another opportunity to gather data about autonomous vehicles and discuss the topic.

The service is currently available in Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, San Francisco, CA, San Diego, CA, Los Angeles, CA, Orange County, CA and San Jose, CA. All of these cities have autonomous vehicles in common – testing and research about the future of autonomous mobility is happening in each of these cities/geographical areas.

In Beverly Hills, an independent city geographically located in the center of Los Angeles, we are actively looking into how we can plan for a future with autonomous vehicles. Two of the biggest hurdles that we have identified are trust and education. How do you educate someone about future mobility, particularly autonomous vehicles, without trust?

Trust and education will play a vital role in the adoption and implementation of fully autonomous vehicles. We have seen companies working on autonomous vehicles take steps towards building trust by releasing dash-cam videos showing the vehicles driving around public roads in urban environments. While the videos may squash some fears, they end up only furthering the need for public autonomous vehicle demo days in cities around the world.

Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC’s “Mad Money” was a self-professed skeptic of autonomous vehicles until he went for a ride in a Waymo vehicle. After the ride in the semi-autonomous vehicle, Cramer’s entire opinion about autonomous vehicles changed. During the ride, Carmer began to trust the technology more than he trusted a driver.

Summing up his first-ever autonomous vehicle experience, Carmer said; “I thought they were a pipedream, something that wouldn’t be viable until the distant future. Turns out I was wrong, and the future is now.”

He is correct, the future is now and Amazon decidedly knows this as well. Amazon further knows that trust and education are the keys to the adoption and implementation of fully autonomous vehicles. This exact scenario played out with Carmer. Once he learned about the technology first hand and went for a ride, he experienced the future.

While the experience Carmer had at Waymo’s headquarters is not scaleable, Amazon has solved the scale hurdle by introducing the Smart Home Consultation service. The service will allow Amazon to develop trust and educate the consumer about autonomous vehicles.

Amazon is already a trusted brand that virtually everyone universally adores. This affords the company a unique strategic advantage over every single brand in the autonomous vehicle marketplace, except possibly Alphabet’s Waymo.

As quality time is spent in the home, Amazon employees will be able to educate the consumer about autonomous vehicles while speaking about the benefits of autonomous vehicles and strengthening the trust factor.

To further this trust, an employee could even summon an autonomous vehicle using their voice from an Echo. Taking that individual(s) for a ride around the neighborhood and/or to an Amazon GO store. Once the individual sits in the vehicle, trust has already been firmly established.

As the vehicle pulls away and drives itself down the road, the passenger(s) are experiencing the future firsthand while Amazon gains another avenue to sell more products and services.

An autonomous vehicle subscription service is coming from Amazon, it’s just a matter of when.

Amazon Smart-Home Consultations: Gearing Up For An Autonomous Vehicle Service is an article written by Grayson Brulte, Brulte & Company Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the City of Beverly Hills Autonomous Vehicle Task Force.

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