I think the taxi industry is a great spot for these. While you always have ever changing conditions with weather, construction, pedestrians and other traffic, imagine being able to tune the driving to one city. Your fleet operates in 1 city with 1 set of laws and driving character and etiquette. You could even fine tune it for certain intersections.
Imagine a few different strategically placed hubs where a small number of employees work. The cabs, when low on fuel, find their way home to be cleaned, inspected and fueled (or charged). Algorithms already estimated when it would need to refuel so it intelligently worked its way back toward base, taking fares along the way. It was able to do this because the people who hailed the cabs on their smartphones have to give a destination as well.
Employees at a central hub monitors interior and exterior cameras on the cabs, sensor data etc.
Fares can be booked by smartphone or calling a call center that enters the fares into the same computer system that dispatches the cabs.
Was thinking about the concept more, and playing with it. I think Tesla would be perfect as an automatic driving platform. Even better when you consider their battery swap stations.
Need to go on a long drive? Plug in the address. Tesla maps out an optimal route in between battery swap stations. Car takes off, you doze off in the passenger seat. Car drives you to a battery station automatically swaps out your current battery for a long-distance battery, drives to the next station, gets you a topped off battery, and you keep going until you get to your destination.
I'm just a slob on a website. I'm pretty certain people a lot brighter than me care whiteboarding all sorts of neat applications I haven't even come up with yet.
I would be afraid of people vandalizing the inside of the cars, even with camera's it will still happen. Also, what about people like me who like to carry around cash.
Uber charges your credit card directly when you get a ride in one of their cars, rather than you paying the driver, so they're pretty much already set up to charge you for damage as well. So I don't think damage/vandalism would be a huge hurdle for the concept.
The rental car industry seems to have that problem resolved. I can't see it being all that more difficult to address using automated vehicles.
As for cash? Hm. I guess as long as you don't leave it in the car when you depart, you should be good to go.
Rental industry has the problem of people vandalizing the cars resolved? I don't think so, one I think it's a bit different because you physically give that car back to people... but every rental car I've been in has been absolutely disgusting.