The Impact of Self-Driving Cars


Mon, Dec 2nd, 2013 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Neil Winton of Detroit News, the self-driving car "will convulse the automotive industry" when it will become obvious we will "only need a small fraction of the current global vehicle output to meet daily needs."

There will be losers too. Obviously taxi companies will find business disappearing. Railroads, bus companies and short-haul airlines will suffer. If you can move from your home to your destination, door-to-door in the comfort of your car, who’s going to take the train, bus or plane? Hotels might be in for a shock too. If you can travel overnight to your business meeting in the morning by sleeping in the back of your self-driving Winnebago, showering and breakfasting on the way, who’d want to do it the traditional way? Big winners will include software sellers with in-car applications to entertain drivers with new time on their hands. Radio and recorded music businesses will lose a captive audience.

Highway speed limits are likely to be raised when the new technology demonstrates it can eliminate accidents, cutting journey times and adding to the virtuous circle. All those high speed train tracks being touted in the U.S. and Britain are likely to end up being used by driver-less cars, not hugely expensive and inflexible high-speed trains. And when it becomes obvious that car computerization works, it won’t be long before people start to look at all those vehicles sitting motionless in parking lots all day doing nothing. Why not use computer power to use them a bit more often by dialing up the nearest available car for your limited journey? The implications of this must cause auto manufacturers sleepless nights because if it works, you would only need a small fraction of the current global vehicle output to meet daily needs.



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“These changes will likely mean a decline in job security and standards of living for many.”