Unless you’ve been living under a rock you will know that there are now companies literally racing to bring forward their own personal brand of self driving cars to market first. With companies like Google, Apple, and Uber, all with autonomous cars in production and testing, we are fast approaching a future where the driver is all but obsolete.
Autonomous vehicles are no longer science fiction, as was forecast in the 1970’s and 80’s (shout out to flying cars, while we’re here too!), but a technology on the cusp of going mainstream.
The present state of autonomous vehicles
Presently there are autonomous vehicles being driven on our roads. Tesla’s semi-autonomous vehicles, driven by their Autopilot system, are now permanent features on many US roads. The cars, which are driven by the vehicle itself, require the driver to remain alert and take over should they feel the need.
Every Tesla car in production now comes fitted with Autopilot as standard, and as updates roll out across the system they become more intuitive, more alert, and more compliant.
Tesla remain ahead of the pack when it comes to autonomous vehicles: their cars are the only ones presently on the road for consumers. Tesla’s competitors remain focused on the ride share market, for which a fully autonomous car is necessary.
Ride sharing and driverless cars
It’s been just 6 short years since Uber’s official launch in San Francisco, and since then they have completely flipped the taxi industry on its head. Ride sharing, and Uber in particular, has become popular across all corners of the globe: a reliable way to get a lift, all from the power of your smartphone.
The need for taking your own car or a traditional taxi has decreased. So it makes sense that autonomous vehicles could dominate this space.
Imagine companies, such as Uber, being able to eliminate the cost involved in paying the driver, the insurance, the bad reviews, the accidents? This is a multi-trillion dollar opportunity for them and others like them.
We won’t even need a personal car
When it comes to the (very-near) future, we can now see that the cost of ownership of your own car would be totally uneconomical. Car cost, maintenance, licencing fees, insurance, petrol, parking fees… they all add up. When you can easily order a car that drives itself direct from your location to your destination, arriving in mere minutes, for a few dollars, why would you choose anything else?
When you can expect a safe ride, that doesn’t cost the Earth, where you can sit back, relax, do your work, or read a book, why wouldn’t you?
We predict that owning your own car (and probably an autonomous one at that) in the future will be a luxury reserved for those with money to spend, who are more concerned with saving 5 minutes out of their day to reach their destination. And this is in the very near future – we’re talking within the next 15-20 years.
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