The widespread adoption of autonomous cars will lead to some big adjustments.
Technology is invading every aspect of our lives. So why should the automotive industry be any different? Whether you realize it or not, cars have transformed from mechanical beasts into feats of electronics. Their future is entirely automated.
While not many of the cars on the road today are automated, they will make an entrance in the market soon. We are on the verge of entering the era where you will be able to do everything but drive your car. It’ll be a while before the mainstream population is going to use these vehicles. In fact, it’s estimated that by 2040, 95 percent of the cars will be autonomous.
Advancements are assisting people with transportation. Currently, many vehicles have the technology to communicate with other cars and their surroundings through the aid of navigation systems. This helps the driver make safer and more informed decisions.
But an autonomous vehicle (AV) is different. Here, the automobile is making choices for the driver. Some cars already have the intelligence to perform several tasks on their own. As if fulfilling a futuristic fantasy, these cars can be turned on without a key in the ignition. They can sense varying degrees of light and darkness and adjust the beams accordingly. By gauging speed, they can predict accurate merge times. They can detect oncoming traffic through auto-collision avoidance and self-parking features. Nowadays, automobiles have merged entertainment, communication, and navigation systems to comply with all the needs of the driver.
As the demand for faster, more automated cars increases, people are seriously considering to upgrade their wheels. The longer you hold to older cars, the more it devalues. Don’t go running to the nearest scrap car buyers just yet. Some car makers may transition successfully to the autonomous future. Maybe all your car needs is the expert integration of hardware and software. More and more companies are deviating from the norm. They are now focusing on making life simpler, safer, and more comfortable.
Aside from the self-driving car, the waves of the automotive technology will ripple through other businesses. Everyone is going to be affected, ranging from trucking, delivery options, auto parts suppliers, auto insurance providers, dealerships, energy companies, ride-sharing services, and even parking lots. Needless to say, autonomous cars will revolutionize life as we know it, but it could hurt many industries in the process. As a consumer and a member of the society, we have more to gain than we have to lose. Some of the benefits that we can reap are fewer traffic accidents, more cost-effective transportation options, reduced dependence on fossil fuels, and extra free time.
With this advancement, what changes can we expect?
- If you’re not driving, how will you utilize the space? An autonomous car doesn’t need a driver. Therefore, the need for front-facing seats no longer exists. This means that the auto industry could change the design of future cars to optimize space. They could alter the size and shape to provide freedom of mobility within the vehicle. Since there is no need to focus on driving, the time spent on commuting could then become a period for relaxation, leisure, or work. It wouldn’t be entirely unrealistic if certain companies avail the opportunity to morph cars into service providers on the go.
- Customizing self-driving cars: In this day and age, vehicle customization extends to paint color, rims, security system, and entertainment system, especially audio equipment. But the future holds no boundaries. It’s easy to imagine how businesses will implement 3D printing technology to manufacture custom-built cars based on creativity and functionality. No doubt these uniquely designed vehicles will be high in value.
- Technological integration: Automobiles are transforming into largely digital machines. Some traditional car makers are already aligning themselves with tech giants, such as GM’s creation Cruise Automation and Google’s Waymo. Tesla is equal with its Autopilot features. If businesses like Honda, Toyota, and Subaru want to remain competitive and viable, they must collaborate with those companies, such as Apple, Intel, Google, etc., that will provide high tech features required for the future. They may need to buy and integrate state-of-the-art software, merge it with automotive engineering, and adapt to the deep expertise in computer vision and artificial intelligence.
- More free time: When you’re not driving, how will you occupy your time? Businesses will compete to take advantage of this new and uncharted gap of free time. It’s hard to predict what innovations will be the first to swoop in and help to utilize this newfound leisure.
- Ownership issues: Technically, if you’re not driving a car, then you’re not the driver. So, what is the future of traditional automobile ownership? Who is responsible for accidents? Who will hold the title? And what is the future of businesses like used car dealers that rely on the transfer of ownership of cars on a regular basis?
- What about shared rides? If you pursue the ideology of ownership a little further, then also consider the pay-per-ride services. Businesses like Uber and Lyft will feel the effects of the transition into the self-driving realm. Who is to say whether self-driving cars will be shared by all or owned as individual property in the future? It may be possible that autonomous driving revolutionizes mobility through shared capsules rather than the traditional automobile. Numerous concepts are already emerging to improve the ergonomics of transporting goods, services, and people to increase productivity.
As a final thought, what will the next generation of automobiles be like? Can you imagine a smartphone on wheels? Businesses are already hard at work preparing for the introduction of cognitively connected, touch system vehicles. The advent of autonomous cars doesn’t seem too far behind. It may be possible that self-driving your car will soon become a hobby, much like horseback riding is today.
Written by: Audrey Throne
Audrey Throne is a mother of a 2-year old and a professional blogger by choice. Throne is passionate about health, technology, and management and blogs frequently on these topics.
Find her on Twitter: @audrey_throne.