50 Mind-Blowing Implications of Self-Driving Cars (and Trucks)
What to expect from the next 3–20 years of autonomous vehicles
As Uber rolls out its first self-driving taxis in Pittsburgh, Tesla and Mercedes roll out limited self-driving capabilities and cities around the world negotiate with companies who want to bring self-driving cars and trucks to their cities, I thought it might be interesting to think through the implications of a fully implemented self-driving transportation network.
Depending on who you listen to, a driverless world could happen as soon as 3 years or as far out as 20 or 30 years or more. It’s exciting and scary!
As I’ve learned more, it’s become clear to me that the driverless future will have huge impacts on our daily lives, our economy and, maybe even to the power and wealth structures of the world.
Below are my thoughts about what a driverless future will be like.
What could happen when cars and trucks drive themselves?
- People won’t own their own cars. Transport will 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
- 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. 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
- 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…