Autonomous vehicles (AV) are here and it's only a matter of time before driverless cars become the usual way of getting places.
Researchers project that by 2035 automakers will sell 12 million fully-autonomous vehicles globally. Another 18 million semi-autonomous cars are also part of the projection on the same timeframe.
Based on these projections (and a lot of other factors), autonomous vehicles could corner as much as 25% of the new car market. Researchers suggest that the automobile market growth could hover somewhere between $42 to $77 billion. There's no doubt that the self-driving vehicle revolution will bring about a paradigm shift in the auto world.
Are you ready for the revolution? Let's count the ways self-driving vehicles will change the way we get around.
Self-Driving Vehicles Will End Car Ownership
The arrival of autonomous vehicles is sure to bring an end to our love affair with the automobile. Since the first car rolled off the assembly line in 1885, humans have had a fascination for wheeled transport. The driving public has made, bought, and sold many vehicles over the past century. Carmakers have pushed the boundaries of speed, style, and cost.
The arrival of autonomous vehicles is sure to bring an end to our love affair with the automobile.
Several years from now, the status quo will change. People won't fuss about owning the newest, fastest, and flashiest car anymore. When fleets of self-driving vehicles are on-call 24/7 and requesting one is easier than ordering a pizza, individual vehicle sales will plummet. Who wants to drive when you can sit back and enjoy the ride?
Self-Driving Cars Will Replace Human Drivers
Economies will change when autonomous vehicles arrive. Human drivers will become obsolete as industries start to see the benefits of employing a fleet of self-driving cars. Jobs held by human drivers (such as bus, train, and taxi drivers) could be in jeopardy as a result of driverless vehicles. Other commercial driving jobs such as trucking fleets, farming, and manufacturing are also in danger.
PRO TIP: When you buy a used car, you should always do a vin check to get to know the history of the car.
Autonomous Vehicles Can Change the Retirement Age
Generation X and Y will be close to retirement age when 2035 rolls around. Chances are, people in this age bracket have already moved to a quiet house in the suburbs. Driving and taking public transport to work in the city is easy when you're younger, but gets progressively harder as you age.
Difficulties getting around can force some seniors to opt for early retirement. Self-driving cars will push the retirement age back a few more years and let seniors go out on their terms.
AI-Powered Automobiles will Enable Businesses to Reach More People
If you live far enough from the city center, getting supplies can become a chore. Autonomous vehicles will help businesses become mobile, and people won't have to drive anymore. Stores on wheels will come to the people and provide much of the same shopping experience as a big store. For the hard-to-reach areas, drones can offer delivery services to customers.
Self-Driving Cars Can Help People Save Money and Time
A car is one of the most significant expenses in the household, second only to buying a house. With people choosing to skip car purchases in-lieu of paying to use a self-driving car, families will be able to save a lot of money. Autonomous vehicles talk to one another and send information to the grid, re-routing and even eliminating traffic.
Autonomous Vehicles Will Lower the Rate of Road Accidents
In the United States, vehicle-related accidents claim more than 32,000 lives every year. Experts suggest that this number could fall by 90% when self-driving cars hit the road. AI-powered vehicles will run on a grid and "talk" to each other. The smart grid computes and manages traffic flow. With a supercomputer overseeing the traffic situation, the number of accidents on the road will drop.
AI-Powered Automobiles Will Give Rise to "Smart" Urban Centers
Today, plenty of urban centers lack safe areas for biking and walking as cars and parking lots take the lion's share of attention. Autonomous vehicles will force governments to create "smart" urban centers for the population. With transportation automated, there won't be a need for miles and miles of parking lots.
Streets can become narrower, giving more space for pedestrians and bikers. Crossing the road will become safer too, as self-driving cars can "see" oncoming pedestrians and stop at a safe distance.
Self-Driving Cars Can Help People with Disabilities Become Self-Reliant
Much like senior citizens who find it hard to drive, people with disabilities could go anywhere they want, at any time. People with disabilities wouldn't have to rely too much on other people to travel and can order a self-driving car within minutes.
Autonomous Vehicles will Depopulate Cities
Self-driving cars will make transportation a lot more convenient. The workplace is stressful as it is. People would much rather sleep, relax, or read while on the way to work and not get stressed out driving or commuting. With people no longer needing to drive or commute to work, cities will become less crowded. The ease of travel will encourage urban dwellers to move out of overcrowded cities and into suburbs or towns farther away.
AI-Powered Automobiles Can Lead to an Organ Donor Shortage
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 13% of all organ donors are victims of car crashes. With self-driving cars lowering road fatalities by about 90%, there will be a shortage of organ donors. The medical community needs to look for alternative sources of vital organs. Appealing to the general public to become organ donors can also help ensure that there is help for people in need.
Autonomous vehicles will soon become mainstream and be as ubiquitous as taxis. People will stop buying cars, preferring to pay for the services of a robot driver so they can relax in the back seat. This "driverless utopia" is the future for both the auto world and the consumers it services. The outlook looks safer and brighter with AI doing the driving.
Author’s bio: Patrick Peterson is a writer/editor at AutoDetective. Born and raised in the automotive world, he's a passionate writer who crafts content about everything related to cars and bikes.