Watching Ads Could Pave the Way for Free Transportation


Call Don Draper, because there’s a new place for Madison Avenue to stick its nose in.

According to Volkswagen’s Johann Jungwirth, autonomous car rides could be made free through advertising.

Jungwirth is in charge of digital strategy for the Volkswagen Group since he moved over from Apple in 2015 and says that with autonomy taking away the dangers of distracted driving, cars become a great place to advertise.

“Above 90 percent of in-car advertising will be in self-driving vehicles, so autonomous technology will be a real game-changer,” said Jungwirth, speaking at the Financial Times Future of the Car Summit, as reported by AutoExpress. “Think about Nike for example. They’re offering a new shoe through in-car advertising, and you can bring people to the store directly.”

SEE ALSO: New Volkswagen Group Concept Previews a Self-Driving Future

Such a scheme would, of course, be limited to autonomous cars that are part of a ride-sharing program or used as public transportation, not autonomous cars that are privately owned. The result would be short, free rides on-demand.

“If we consider the basics — like getting to the grocery store or the doctor — then these journeys could be funded by advertising,” he said.

Jungwirth said that this likely wouldn’t become a reality until the mid-2020s, but that it is his mission as Chief Digital Strategist to make VW proficient in hardware, software, and services.

A version of this story originally appeared on VW Vortex

Discuss this story on our Volkswagen Forum

  • Perry F. Bruns

    I respect that this is an option, but I think it’s worth it to pay for transport if it means not being required to view ads.

    That said, it’s not as though we’re not bombarded by advertisements when we’re driving now.