Systems such as RideScout and moovel thrive in cramped urban areas where high cost of living and scarce parking make vehicle ownership a chore. Many consumers in these areas end up turning to subways, taxis or car sharing as a result.
Kopser said it was only natural that Daimler would take on a leadership role in mobility.
In 2008, the company introduced Car2Go, a free-floating car-sharing service that offers Smart ForTwo minicars. It's available in more than two dozen cities globally.
Under the free-floating model, a consumer needn't return the vehicle to the location from which it was obtained. But the vehicle must be parked in an approved spot when the user is done with it.
This differs from Zipcar's round-trip setup, which requires the user to return the car to the original spot. However, with Zipcar's experiment with the ONE>WAY service in Boston, customers don't have to return the vehicles to their pickup locations. The arrangement differs from a free-floating model because the customer reserves a parking spot for the end of the trip.
Car2Go, one of the mobility options available in moovel and RideScout, has more than 1 million customers worldwide. It also has a stand-alone app.
In Germany, consumers are fans of taxi bookings through the mytaxi app that's also integrated into moovel, says Robert Henrich, moovel's CEO. According to mytaxi, "almost every second taxi" in Germany is making trips booked through its app.
People have varying mobility tastes, Henrich said. A German business traveler likely will rely on taxis, while students are more inclined to make use of moovel's public transportation and bike sharing components.
Henrich, pointing to RideScout, believes the intermodal mobility strategy can succeed in the U.S.
"It's very much about exploring new opportunities and leading the market in a new direction. Daimler is an automotive company and will remain to be," Henrich said. "But what we see out there in the world is that in cities and urban areas, there's a new way emerging of how people organize their mobility."
Ford is conducting 25 experiments this year to further its status as a product and mobility company.
The research is part of the Ford Smart Mobility plan that CEO Mark Fields announced in January during the International CES.