Ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft have made the daily commute a less frustrating part of the day for many. Now a crowd-sourced fleet of 14-passenger vehicles acquired by Ford Motor Company is promising more.
“What Chariot and Ford is looking forward to doing in the next couple of years is to actually make [your commute], believe it or not, the best part of your day,” said Ali Vahabzadeh, founder and chief executive officer of Chariot Transit Inc., a Y Combinator-backed startup.
At South by Southwest in Austin, TX, Vahabzadeh claimed that Chariot is reinventing mass-transit by crowd-sourcing new routes in undeserved or overcrowded areas.
Vahabzadeh told John Furrier (@furrier), host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile live streaming studio, that Chariot is using Artificial Intelligence and commuter data to finetune rider experiences on-board.
“I think AI’s going to take cars off the street,” he said.
In addition to virtual reality and entertainment options, he said, “we know your preferences, we know where you’re commuting from and to, we know what you want to eat for dinner, we know where you want to go for happy hour on Thursday night.”
Young professional market play
In the past three years, Chariot has penetrated a very attractive market of young professionals and incorporated their feedback into the service. This led to options for social connecting among commuters for professional networking or more.
“Perhaps your next date is onboard,” Vahabzadeh said.
Chariot now operates in San Francisco and Austin and will expand to six more U.S. cities in 2017.
Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the South by SouthWest (SXSW). (*Disclosure: Intel sponsors some SXSW segments on SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE. Neither Intel nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)