They're not using Marty McFly's DeLoreans yet, but Asia's consumer transportation industry is embracing new technologies at a fierce pace, with electric rickshaws and driverless taxis as the latest innovations.
Indian taxi-hailing service Ola announced on Tuesday that it would include electric rickshaws on its popular mobile app. Like other electric vehicles, the e-rickshaws are battery-powered and are purported to produce zero emissions, a major change from the smoke-wielding auto-rickshaws omnipresent in South Asia.
"With over 60 percent of the India's population residing in small towns across the country, the e-rickshaw initiative aims to strengthen mobility in these towns. Citizens in these cities and towns currently suffer from lack of convenient and reliable mobility options, especially for short distances," Ola said in a statement.
The announcement coincided with the launch of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Stand-Up India" campaign—designed to promote entrepreneurship—with the 65-year-old leader ceremonially booking the first Ola e-rickshaw.
E-rickshaws have been on the Indian market for a few years but have yet to be incorporated into the country's sharing economy.