Daimler AG is expanding its mobility services in the U.S. as the German automaker bets big on the future of car-sharing, ride-sharing and other nontraditional modes of transportation.
Daimler is merging two services:
- RideScout, which Daimler bought in 2014 and allows app users to find the fastest route using public transit and sharing services.
- GlobeSherpa, a mobile ticketing service based in Portland, Ore., that Texas-based RideScout acquired last year. The two services operated independently until now.
The combined entity is known as Moovel North America, a subsidiary of Daimler’s Moovel Group GmbH mobility services unit that owns the car-sharing service Car2Go, taxi-hailing app MyTaxi and other services.
The merger is the latest move in what new Moovel North America CEO Nat Parker called an “arms race” between Daimler and automakers including General Motors and BMW, as well as technology companies such as Google and Apple, to get a leg up in mobility services such as ride-sharing. Parker said such services have the potential to upend automakers’ business models if they remain complacent.
“We’re only a couple years into this complete rethink of urban transportation, one that could lead to a radically different future,” said Parker, the co-founder and former CEO of GlobeSherpa.
Moovel North America will offer two products based on RideScout and GlobeSherpa’s technology. Moovel Transit, formerly known as TransitSherpa, is a mobile ticketing app that allows public transit users in cities including Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles to pay on the go in addition to connecting them to car- and bike-sharing services.
It also will offer RideTap, a software development kit that allows users of third-party apps to find the fastest route to a destination by using public transportation, hailing a Lyft vehicle or reserving a Car2Go vehicle. For instance, someone using a restaurant review app could use the RideTap function in that app to find the fastest way to get to his or her destination.
A RideTap beta testing program is underway through the TriMet Tickets app in Portland. Moovel expects to expand RideTap into other markets later this year, it said in a news release.
Parker said the merger sends the industry a message that Daimler is not remaining complacent and is instead adapting for the future.
“To have the inventor of the automobile say that we’re becoming a mobility company, that’s leadership,” Parker said.
The move comes after GM in January invested $500 million in Lyft and launched a car-sharing service, Maven, and after BMW said this month that it is relaunching its U.S. car-sharing program.
Parker will lead Moovel North America, while former RideScout CEO Joseph Kopser was named president of Moovel Group. Parker and Kopser will report to Moovel Group CEO Joerg Lamparter.