Remember phones before they were smart? When they were connected to the wall? Remember when we actually called someone? Oh, and the internet made a noise when starting up. If you don’t remember this, then congratulations you are younger than me. But back in the day, that barely loading internet was the sleekest thing ever, same with our Nokia phones. Until we got used to them, upgraded, and threw the old ones in the trash. I’m going to convince you that our driving will change the same way our phones and the internet did. Drastically and faster than people expected. I think we’ll completely stop driving within the next 10 years.
Robots Are Already Behind The Wheel
Nobody will be driving because cars already drive themselves. By now they drive to destinations, they stay within lanes, avoid collisions, and park themselves. These cars are available today, or soon to be on the market like the Google launched Waymo, and Tesla. The regulations to allow autonomous driving is already well on its way in several countries, notably the US, UK, and Germany. Public opinion has been divided as there’s been some accidents with driverless cars and many people fear not being in control of their car, understandably enough. Despite that, autonomous cars are becoming safer, and some argue they’re already safer than human drivers. Before long, we’ll be sitting in a driverless car daily, not questioning the safety nor how it works. Just like you don’t question your smartphone.
We’ll Prefer Being Chauffeured
There’s still going to be some people driving in 10 years, but the vast majority will leave the driving to more capable, robot hands. All the transportation we use today will be fully automated. Cars, trains, planes, you name it. Some speculate that the only people driving in the future will be joyriders, and motorcyclists with special permission. Others say we’ll outlaw human driving completely. But that’s probably not happening in the next couple of decades. What is happening is that we’ll very soon have plenty of incentives not to drive; Like cheaper taxi/uber service, where you don’t have to pay a driver. Cheaper fair, because the car drives in the most fuel-efficient manner. Shorter trip, because the car drives faster. And off course no need to get a license or pay for insurance. Think about yourself driving today; rushing to beat traffic, annoyed at other drivers, stressed, and on alert. Now imagine yourself tomorrow; sitting in the backseat, watching some entertainment or maybe reading the news, seat reclined, and drinking coffee. Which would you prefer?
IoT Does It Better
One technology that’ll really help bring driverless cars to life is IoT, or Internet of Things. IoT is a maturing technology that connects devices or things together. The devices share information and create a better, more seamless experience for everyone. A branch of IoT called Internet of Vehicles (IoV) has gained a lot of attention recently, and is specifically concerned with driverless cars. An example today of IoT’s impact is Google Maps. When it advises an alternate route to save 10 minutes, it’s using IoT. It’s tapping into every connected devise on the road, analyzing their data, and figuring out the best route. Combine that with the self-driving cars themselves, and commuting will become much faster, more comfortable, and much more efficient. To the degree that most people will simply prefer robot drivers over themselves. And that’s ultimately how we’ll stop driving within 10 years, not because it’ll be illegal, but because we’ll have better alternatives. Prepare to tell your kids what a driver’s license was.
The Business Impact
How will these changes affect the business side of it all? Well for starters, many people will lose their job. Everyone who drives for a living. But as usual, technology will create more jobs than it destroys. New jobs and fields will open up in the autonomous car industry. For the automakers concern, they need to pivot their business model to keep up with the new-kids-on-the-block, the autonomous car makers. Some have already started partnering with them as with Volvos collaboration with Microsoft and Ford’s investment in Argo AI. For consumers, we will change our preferences from owning cars, into using car sharing services like the ones Uber and Lyft are creating. We’ll save money not owning, and we’ll work more while commuting, freeing up our time otherwise. Experts predict that autonomous cars will make it possible for people to live further away from their job, as people increasingly work in-car. The automakers that adapt to the new rules would maintain their earnings by having to produce fewer cars but utilize them more. They would also form tight partnerships with car sharing services who’d become their main customer. Automakers also need to adapt their marketing strategies and prepare for a shift from a Business-to-Consumer, to a Business-to-Business centric market. Carmakers will however cut costs, switching to fully electric cuts production cost by 50%. The maintenance cost would also lower as electric cars have fewer moving mechanical parts. And if we are to believe Raj Kapoor, Lyft’s Chief Strategy Officer, we could be using allot less cars in total. He states that the average American car is only used 4% of the time. An 8% utilization would in theory eliminate half of the cars today. So, with all that in mind, I’m sorry to be the one telling you that you are driving a Nokia, a soon to be extinct solution.
Until next time,