I believe that the timeframe for significant adoption of this technology has shrunk in the past year as technology has gotten better faster and as the trucking industry has increased its level of interest and investment.
I believe that my daughter, who is now just over 1 years old, will never have to learn to drive or own a car.
The impact of driverless vehicles will be profound and impact almost every part of our lives.
Below are my updated thoughts about what a driverless future will be like. Some of these updates are from feedback to my original article (thanks to those who contributed!!!), some are based on technology advances in the past year and others are just my own speculations.
What could happen when cars and trucks drive themselves?
1. People won’t own their own cars. Transport will be delivered as a service from companies who own fleets of self-driving vehicles. There are so many technical, economic, safety advantages to the transportation-as-a-service that this change may come much faster than most people expect. Owning a vehicle as an individual will become a novelty for collectors and maybe competitive racers.
2. Software/technology companies will own more of the world’s economy as companies like Uber, Google and Amazon turn transportation into a pay-as-you-go service. Software will indeed eat this world. Over time, they’ll own so much data about people, patterns, routes and obstacles that new entrants will have huge barriers to enter the market
3. Without government intervention (or some sort of organized movement), there will be a tremendous transfer of wealth to a very small number of people who own the software, battery/power manufacturing, vehicle servicing and charging/power generation/maintenance infrastructure. There will be massive consolidation of companies serving these markets as scale and efficiency will become even more valuable. Cars (perhaps they’ll be renamed with some sort-of-clever acronym) will become like the routers that run the Internet — most consumers won’t know or care who made them or who owns them.
4. Vehicle designs will change radically — vehicles won’t need to withstand crashes in the same way, all vehicles will be electric (self-driving + software + service providers = all electric). They may look different, come in very different shapes and sizes, maybe attach to each other in some situations. There will likely be many significant innovations in materials used for vehicle construction — for example, tires and brakes will be re-optimized with very different assumptions, especially around variability of loads and much more controlled environments. The bodies will likely be primarily made of composites (like carbon fiber and fiberglass) and 3D printed. Electric vehicles with no driver controls will require 1/10th or fewer the number of parts (perhaps even 1/100th) and thus will be quicker to produce and require much less labor. There may even be designs with almost no moving parts (other than wheels and motors, obviously).
5. Vehicles will mostly swap batteries rather than serve as the host of battery charging. Batteries will be charged in distributed and highly optimized centers — likely owned by the same company as the vehicles or another national vendor. There may be some entrepreneurial opportunity and a marketplace for battery charging and swapping, but this industry will likely be consolidated quickly. The batteries will be exchanged without human intervention — likely in a carwash-like drive thru
6. Vehicles (being electric) will be able to provide portable power for a variety of purposes (which will also be sold as a service) — construction job sites (why use generators), disaster/power failures, events, etc. They may even temporarily or permanently replace power distribution networks (i.e. power lines) for remote locations — imagine a distributed power generation network with autonomous vehicles providing “last mile” services to some locations
7. Driver’s licenses will slowly go away as will the Department of Motor Vehicles in most states. Other forms of ID may emerge as people no longer carry driver’s licenses. This will probably correspond with the inevitable digitization of all personal identification — via prints, retina scans or other biometric scanning
8. There won’t be any parking lots or parking spaces on roads or in buildings. Garages will be repurposed — maybe as mini loading docks for people and deliveries. Aesthetics of homes and commercial buildings will change as parking lots and spaces go away. There will be a multi-year boom in landscaping and basement and garage conversions as these spaces become available
9. Traffic policing will become redundant. Police transport will also likely change quite a bit. Unmanned police vehicles may become more common and police officers may use commercial transportation to move around routinely. This may dramatically change the nature of policing, with newfound resources from the lack of traffic policing and dramatically less time spent moving around
10. There will be no more local mechanics, car dealers, consumer car washes, auto parts stores or gas stations. Towns that have been built around major thoroughfares will change or fade
Keine News mehr verpassen!