According to the news, the coming years are supposed to see a major change in the car industry. The change I’m waiting impatiently for. The autonomous cars uprising.
I spend about 2 hours driving my car every business day. Two hours per day gives 10 hours per week that is a whole working day wasted in my car. What can you do while driving when your eyes, hands and your mind are busy? Maybe you can listen to music, make some phone calls, turn on audiobook or language lessons. Not too much, is it?
But what if you hire a private driver? Than you significantly expand the spectrum of your possibilities. Now you can read a book, watch a video, browse the internet, attend to a teleconference or take a nap. You can also play video games or play chess with a friend of yours. These are the most obvious. But hiring a driver is quite expensive, and probably you can’t afford it unless you earn several times more than the average. However, there is light in the tunnel: the self-driving car. Anybody heard about the Google car, but not only Google is working on this technology. I think Google is closer to final results than others, but almost every conventional automaker’s R&D lab is swamped with work related to self-drive solutions.
Traveling by car differs from traveling by bus or train. In your car, you are in your very private space. You are able to do things undoable in more public places. Sure, I don’t mean sexual activities :) You can exercise for instance. As for me, I would like to have a whiteboard in my car which would help me to analyze my ideas. These new possibilities will change my life and the life of all those drivers who spend hours in their cars. They can do more work, can learn more things, can be more rested during a day. Even healthier because driving can be quite stressful.
It will change the full range of businesses. Insurances will be affected by taking the responsibility from human and accidents will plummet. Car rentals will become more popular because there will be no need for a driving license. Share economy can rise because people should be more willing to give their (still private) cars to others. And if we take this popularity of rentals and sharing growth we can assume that taxi companies will be no longer necessary.
In the long term, it should change our cities and the infrastructure we build. Roads could be narrower, intersections smaller, no street lights, no signs. Space recovered will be allocated to pedestrianization and greenways. For being more human. Cities landscapes should look better.
And last but not least it’s a great opportunity for startups and tech companies. Self-driving cars will create a huge market of consumers who will get extra hours for their activities. Cars will become products from the Internet of Things category rather than from transportation industry. There will be new needs and new solutions that we can’t imagine yet.
In my opinion, we can compare these ongoing changes to another revolution that was the invention of the Internet. It’s a game changer.