The Impending Disruption From Autonomous Vehicles
Autonomous vehicles make headlines every day. Advocates propose that they will improve the economics of nearly every industry, constitute a more comfortable, convenient, and efficient commute, and improve road and car safety exponentially. Yet, driverless cars are met with great resistance and fear. Naysayers believe that entire industries will implode, putting millions of jobs and livelihoods in jeopardy. There is a huge lack of trust in the technology and the subsequent safety of passengers – including the privacy of their data, and they’re expensive – leading to limited accessibility.
A whole new world
This is great as commuting is a worldwide struggle. The average London employee spends nearly 2.5 hours a day travelling door-to-door. That’s 23.5 days and an average of £10,020 ($13,928) worth of unpaid time a year. Commuters are spending almost one-fifth (18%) of their salaries on travelling, and commuting parents spend an extra £2,873 ($3,993) per year to cover childcare – that equates to 10% of the average London net salary post-tax.
Speaking of finances, cars are expensive. They typically sit unused 95% of the time. In fact, an average car that clocks around 10,000 miles a year loses £50.88 ($70,72) a week in depreciation – or 32p (44 cents) every minute it sits motionless. In theory, driverless cars can diminish this issue. Instead of cars sat parked when out of use, AVs can continually drive around, pick up passengers, and generate revenue – potentially a new source of passive income. Or, households can rely on one car instead of multiple, as when one driver has concluded their journey, the car can then return itself to another member. In other words, private ownership could become redundant and car sharing services could act in its replacement.
But perhaps considered the most essential reason for driverless cars, AVs effectively remove the hazard of human error (which amounts to more than 90% of road accidents), leading to improved safety. As Robin Chase, founder and CEO of Buzzcar says, “these cars won’t get drunk or high, drive too fast, or take unnecessary risks—things people do all the time.”
The unintended consequences
Every revolutionary technology requires rapid adoption and adaptation. Businesses that don’t adjust fast enough will eventually cease to exist. Billions – if not trillions – of dollars will potentially be lost from automakers, suppliers and components manufacturing, dealers, construction, logistics, insurers, parking companies, and other car-related enterprises. Governments are also at risk of lost revenue from licensing fees, taxes, fines and tolls, as are personal injury lawyers and health insurers.
“In 2030, self-driving cars are expected to create $87 billion worth of opportunities for automakers and technology developers,” says Investopedia.
A new automotive ecosystem
According to Intel, this new automotive ecosystem will create a $7 trillion industry that will drive a need for software engineers, data scientists, experts in AI, and vehicle manufacturing. But it doesn’t end there – a broader scope of occupations are expected to emerge:
Startups leveraging on different aspects of the Ecosystem