The shift towards autonomous driving (AD) and autonomous vehicles (AVs) has proven to be a bigger challenge for manufacturers and the tech industry than expected. This hasn’t stopped them, however, from pouring massive amounts of resources into the technology and it’s clear to see that manually driven vehicles will become a thing of the past.
Advantages of AVs are numerous and could include reduced costs to long-haul trucking, agriculture, improved ride hailing services, better public transport, and more hygienic street cleaning. These are just some of the known benefits, with the potential for seemingly endless applications.
Benefits to the consumer are also unquestionable. Expanded mobility for those who might be physically impaired like the elderly. More efficient driving will lead to fewer traffic jams and therefore lower pollution and more hospitable cities. Operating a vehicle will be unnecessary, freeing up hours every week for commuters which can be spent doing other activities like working, playing, watching TV, eating food etc. As before, the possibilities are huge.
A lot of AD benefits are claimed (higher safety, less traffic, nicer and more hospitable cities, more spare time, and democratized autonomy) but before those benefits can be achieved trust must be grained
However, there is some scepticism with AVs, especially around malfunctioning AI and privacy concerns. There is hesitation in the West, with 49% of Americans not considering owning an AV (compared to 51% of Chinese who would). These are barriers car manufacturers and tech companies will have to overcome to win over consumers’ trust.
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) will be one of the roads towards autonomous driving (AD) as well as privately owned AVs.
AD will unlock many commercial applications. Everything from long-haul trucking, last-mile delivery, transportation, location-to-location shuttles, agriculture to street cleaning will be revolutionized.
Commercial benefits will lead to consumer benefits. Cities could experience less traffic jams (35% improvement on traffic flow) and more green spaces.
AD will lead to new consumer habits. AD could soon lead to a large disruption to our time management and daily routines.
Automotive and Tech industry needs to overcome barriers. Questions around trust in AVs are raised across all generations with fears around crashes. The industry needs to address these concerns and demonstrate the benefits of AD/AVs.
To find out more about autonomous driving and vehicles, read Future of Mobility: Autonomous driving and the impact on our lives.