As the future of mobility becomes a reality human drivers will relinquish the driver’s seat to the robot driver. Private ownership of cars will be significantly reduced and eventually eliminated as the alternative, autonomous mobility service, will be more convenient and affordable. As a result, human-driven cars will be relegated to tracks or stadiums, much like horses are today.
The Future Car Resistance
In the interim there will be significant resistance by drivers to give up driving and many will claim the steering wheel will have to be torn from their “cold dead hands”. Unfortunately, for those not willing to give up their driving privileges, market forces and other benefits, such as fewer accidents and more city parking areas, will gradually erode this resistance. In addition, as autonomous vehicles become safer than human-driven cars, government regulation will gradually move towards making on-road human driving illegal.
The Future Car Transition
Much like the transition from horses to cars, the human-to-autonomous driving transition will first occur in major cities, then smaller cities, the suburbs and, finally, rural areas. Transition time should be more rapid than the horse-to-car transition that took approximately 13 years in New York City, and almost 50 years to extend to rural areas. Assuming an introduction in larger metropolitan areas occurs within the next few years, the transition to larger cities could occur at the latest by the mid 30’s; rural areas may not see the transition until after 2050.
The Future Car Standardization
Pride of ownership will also fall victim to the future car revolution since car bodies and drive trains will become standardized and cars will look more like pods rather than sleek machines. As a result, car brands will lose importance and consumers will focus on the service cars provide rather than the car itself. This is similar to how we view air travel today, we are not focused on whether the airplane is from Boeing or Airbus, but more importantly about level of service such as economy, business or first class.
Overtime, most of us will become comfortable with this new world of transportation convenience and affordability. Eventually our grandchildren will say, “Wow I can’t believe that people used to drive, that sounds so dangerous.”
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