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입력 : 2021/02/02 [16:29]
The era of the internal combustion engine (ICE) car is ending. We may have reached “peak ICE.”
As Elon Musk predicted during Tesla’s recent “Battery Day” presentation, in the long-term there won’t be an ICE industry.
From here on out, it’s all about electric vehicles and autonomous ride-sharing, and the implications for society and the automotive industry are HUGE.
Need evidence? Oil demand from passenger vehicles is predicted to have already peaked, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and demand from overall road transport is expected to peak in 2031.
Electric vehicles (EVs) currently displace the need for 1 million barrels of oil each day. And by 2040, EVs are projected to disrupt demand of over 17 million barrels of oil per day — a figure steadily on the rise as EV costs plummet.
The future of energy and transportation are key areas of focus during my Abundance 360 Mastermind Summit. In today’s blog, I’m going to discuss how EVs are set to win the transit race by sheer economic advantage, becoming the foundation for autonomous ride-sharing fleets of the future.
As that happens, it will soon become un-economical and societally unacceptable for you to hold on to that old gas-guzzling car.
Let’s dive in…
ELECTRIC VEHICLES’ COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
This year, EVs are expected to surpass 2.8% market share globally. While this might seem negligible, growth is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. EVs are projected to make up 10% of new car sales in 2025, and over 25% by 2030.
As energy expert Ramez Naam explains, “Their growth rate is phenomenal. It took 20 years to sell the first million electric cars. It took 18 months to sell the next million. It took 4 months to sell the fifth million. That is the pace of this change. This is growing twice as fast as solar.”
Stumping forecasters again and again, this surge is driven by pure economic advantage. While personal vehicles currently cost $0.53 per mile, autonomous electric vehicles are expected to vastly undercut this threshold at only $0.04 per mile.
And even though EVs have historically been more expensive than ICE-powered cars, EVs are far cheaper to operate and maintain. The yearly cost to operate an EV in the U.S. stands at about $485, lower than half the $1,117 cost to operate a gas-powered vehicle.
During Elon’s Battery Day presentation, he laid out Tesla’s plan to drive EV costs even lower by revolutionizing the battery industry and redesigning the fundamentals of the battery cell itself. The company’s new ”tabless” battery represents a range of technical breakthroughs that result in a 5x increase in energy, a 6x increase in power, and a 16% increase in range.
These achievements in battery technology along with Tesla’s advancements in the battery production process could halve the cost of producing every kilowatt-hour.
With increased economies of scale, we could see a fully-autonomous $25,000 Tesla model within three years.
Continuing declines in battery and production costs will ultimately make an EV purchase so obvious that you won’t need to calculate the long-term payoff.
Going electric will be a foregone conclusion.
INCREASED INVESTMENT IN EVS
Beyond plunging costs, investment is also booming, and auto manufacturers in addition to Tesla are locked in a worldwide EV race.
Volkswagen is set to spend $66 billion on EVs over the next five years. Nissan is charging ahead with a vision to integrate its EVs into a broader consumer ecosystem through the company’s Intelligent Mobility strategy. And GM has pledged to go all-electric in the near future as it strives to release 20 new electric models by 2023.
This trend is not only affecting passenger transportation. EVs are also disrupting large-scale shipping operations.
For example, in January UPS invested in EV platform Arrival and plans to purchase 10,000 vehicles from the company, 70% of which will be used in the US. UPS plans to acquire at least 2,000 EVs per year by 2022, adding to its current fleet of about 100,000 vehicles globally.
The company was already working towards electric alternatives in 2017, when it ordered 125 Tesla electric semi-trucks. The Tesla Semi — which even today is 20% cheaper on a per mile basis than gasoline-powered trucks — is just one of many vanguards showcasing the extraordinary scale of electric takeover, from compact cars to large-scale transit.
Over the coming decade, market forces will catalyze consumer adoption of EVs, likely in the form of autonomous fleets, at an astounding rate.
ELECTRIC AUTONOMOUS FLEETS
While personal EVs continue to proliferate, the aggregate mileage of EVs will rise exponentially faster as autonomous electric ride-sharing fleets gradually become commonplace.
McKinsey predicts that one in ten cars sold could be a shared vehicle by 2030. Numerous leading car-share operators already employ EVs, such as Daimler’s Car2Go and BMW’s DriveNow programs. Meanwhile, most autonomous vehicle developers have also included electric vehicle models in various testing phases.
As found by a University of Texas study, if autonomous taxis stood at a cost of $0.75 per mile, over 39% of miles would be covered by these services. And at half that price ($0.375 per mile), autonomous taxis would cover 75% of miles, based on pure economic calculi.
Just as is the case with autonomous vehicles, “the way that most people will first encounter an electric vehicle [won’t be a result of] buying one for themselves. These vehicles are [going to be] rapidly deployed mostly as electric taxis,” explains Ramez Naam.
And big players are fast jumping on the bandwagon. For one, last year Apple hired Tesla’s VP of Engineering, Michael Schwekutsch, who now leads the industry in electric powertrain development. A bold move, this likely indicates Apple’s intentions to wholly integrate EVs into the tech giant’s somewhat secret autonomous vehicle fleet.
Over the last two years, Apple’s cars have driven over 80,000 miles in autonomous mode, while drivers took back control of the vehicle only every 1.1 miles driven on average. Increasingly competitive, this driver intervention rate now stands nearly neck and neck with Mercedes-Benz’s human intervention rate of 1.5 miles, and Toyota’s somewhat higher reported average of 2.5 miles.
Yet another competitor, GM Cruise covered over 831,000 miles in the U.S. last year with its cutting-edge fleet of third-generation all-electric Chevrolet Bolt vehicles. The company currently operates Cruise Anywhere, an employee-only ride-hailing service in San Francisco, and has even partnered with DoorDash to leverage its vehicles for food delivery in the future.
Just this week, GM released the first edition of the Hummer EV, which sold out within the first 10 minutes of taking $100 deposits. The batteries in these vehicles use 70% less cobalt (an expensive material found in EV batteries) than GM’s prior EV generation of EVs. These vehicles are set to be on the roads next fall.
And one of the earliest players, Alphabet subsidiary Waymo rises far above its competitors in terms of miles driven and low human intervention rates. Waymo’s 600 vehicles on the road have driven over 20 million miles in 25 cities, not to mention Waymo’s additional 15 billion simulated miles. And given current rates, Waymo’s vehicles require manual intervention only once every 12,200 miles, surpassing the competition.
At the beginning of 2020, the Waymo One service was transporting between 1,000 to 2,000 riders per week, and roughly 5 to 10 percent of these rides were fully driverless through the early rider program.
Last year, Waymo announced a strategic partnership with Jaguar Land Rover to release the I-Pace, a fully electric autonomous SUV. The vehicle’s Lidar system can see 360-degree views up to 1,000 feet away. The I-Pace fleet is currently being tested and will eventually join the Waymo One fleet.
As electric vehicles improve in performance and witness a drop in overall operating costs, forward-thinking individuals, companies, and investors are rapidly transitioning to all-electric transport.
Battery technologies underpinning tomorrow’s EVs are witnessing explosions in efficiency, decimating prices and minimizing the environmental costs of contemporary transit.
If Tesla alone can achieve its goal of producing 3 terawatt-hours of energy every year, it will completely transform the energy and transportation industries.
And as 5G and next-generation cellular networks catalyze the growth of driverless EV fleets, partnerships between EV manufacturers, autonomous driving companies, and ride-sharing services will grow increasingly vital.
Plummeting prices and increased convenience will soon tip the favor towards electric car-as-a-service options, and private ownership of internal combustion engine cars will become a thing of the past.
JOIN ME AT ABUNDANCE 360
If you want to understand how exponential technologies are shaping the future of energy, transportation and other industries, then consider joining my Abundance 360 Mastermind Summit.
Every year, my team and I select a group of 360 entrepreneurs and CEOs to coach over the course of a year-long program. A360 starts each January with a live event and continues every two months with Implementation Workshops, in which I personally coach members in small groups over Zoom. (In January 2021, you have a choice of live “in-person” or “virtual” participation. See the A360 website for more info.)
My mission is to help A360 members identify their massively transformative purpose, select their moonshot, hone their mindsets, and leverage exponential technologies to transform their businesses.
Imagine getting into your car, typing—or, better yet speaking—a location into your vehicle’s interface, then letting it drive you to your destination while you read a book, surf the web, or nap. Self-driving vehicles—the stuff of science fiction since the first roads were paved—are coming, and they’re going to radically change what it’s like to get from point A to point B.
In 2009, Google started the self-driving car project with the goal of driving autonomously over ten uninterrupted 100-mile routes. In 2016, Waymo, an autonomous driving technology company, became a subsidiary of Alphabet, and Google's self-driving project became Waymo.
Since then, Waymo has invited the public to join the first public trial of autonomous vehicles operated by the Waymo Driver and introduced its first fully autonomous vehicles operated by the Waymo Driver on public roads without anyone in the driver’s seat.
- The hype around driverless cars has grown rapidly over the past several years, with many big technology companies getting behind the concept.
- Google launched its Waymo division to develop and market consumer-ready driverless vehicles around the globe.
- The company, along with several others in the tech and auto industries, is betting that driverless cars will soon change the way we get around in a major way.
- Among the revolutionary changes will be safer roads, fewer fossil fuels, and lower transportation costs.
Basic Technology Already In Use
“The building blocks of driverless cars are on the road now,” explained Russ Rader, senior vice president of communications at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety1. He pointed to the front-crash prevention systems that for several years have been able to warn drivers of an impending obstacle and apply the brakes if they don’t react fast enough.
These systems were quickly followed by technology that allows cars to self-park by sizing up a free spot and automatically steering into it, with the driver only controlling the accelerator and brake pedals. Mercedes-Benz took autonomous driving even further when they introduced Drive Pilot, which allows the driver to hand over direct control of steering and speed in certain circumstances, while still supervising the overall operation of the car.2
In 2018, Waymo announced that they would be making self-driving cars available by 2020. However, despite some extraordinary advancements, in the year 2020, self-driving cars are still out of reach, except in some trial programs.3 The current technology on the market is limited to cars that will automatically brake for you if they anticipate a collision, cars that help keep you in your lane, and cars that can mostly handle highway driving.
The idea behind self-driving cars is fairly simple: build a car with cameras that can track all the objects around it. The car should react if it’s about to steer into one. And once in-car computers know all driving rules, they should be able to navigate to their destination. In the end, you might say that the execution of these ideas has been more complicated than was anticipated.
Waymo's cars, the leader in self-driving technology, use high-resolution cameras and lidar (light detection and ranging, which is a way of estimating the distance to another object by bouncing light and sound off things). This technology helps the self-driving car identify where other cars, cyclists, pedestrians, and obstacles are and where they’re moving.4
A Drastic Change
With the adoption of any new revolutionary technology, it is predicted there will be problems for businesses that don’t adjust fast enough to future developments in self-driving car technology. Futurists estimate that hundreds of billions of dollars (if not trillions) will be lost by automakers, suppliers, dealers, insurers, parking companies, and many other car-related enterprises. And think of the lost revenue for governments via licensing fees, taxes and tolls, and by personal injury lawyers and health insurers.
Who needs a car made with heavier-gauge steel and eight airbags (not to mention a body shop) if accidents are so rare? Who needs a parking spot close to work if your car can drive you there, park itself miles away, only to pick you up later? Who needs to buy a flight from Boston to Cleveland when you can leave in the evening, sleep much of the way, and arrive in the morning?
Indeed, one of Google’s goals is to facilitate car-sharing.5 That means fewer cars on the road. Fewer cars, period. Who needs to own a car when you can just order a shared one and it’ll drive up minutes later, ready to take you wherever you want?
“This [has the potential to] dramatically reduce the number of cars on the street, 80% of which have people driving alone in them, and also a household's cost of transportation, which is 18% of their income—around $9,000 a year—for an asset that they use only 5% of the time,” said Robin Chase, the founder and CEO of Buzzcar, a peer-to-peer car-sharing service, and co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar.
In 2030, self-driving cars are expected to create $87 billion worth of opportunities for automakers and technology developers, said a report by Boston-based Lux Research.6
Software developers stand to win big.
A Manufacturing Revolution
If you’re an automaker, such as Ford Motor Co. (F), General Motors Co. (GM), Chrysler Group LLC, Toyota Motor Corp. or Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC), which account for almost 70% of the U.S. market, you could see an initial surge in the $600 billion in annual new and used car sales globally.7 8 But as soon as the technology takes hold, sales could fall off significantly as sharing popularizes.
Cars will always need steel, glass, an interior, a drivetrain, and some form of human interface (even if that interface is little more than a wireless connection to your smartphone). But much of everything else could change. As an example, take front-facing seats; they could become an option, not a requirement. Automakers that see the changes coming—such as how the big profits are secured downstream by car servicers, insurers, and more—are focusing on services as much as on what and how they manufacture.
With fewer cars around, parking lots and spaces that cover roughly one-third of the land area of many U.S. cities can be repurposed. That could mean temporary downward pressure on real estate values as supply increases. It could also mean greener urban areas and revitalized suburbs if longer commutes become more palatable. And if fewer cars are on the road, federal, state, and local government agencies may be able to reallocate a good portion of the roughly $180 billion spent annually on highways and roads.9
Changing Oil Demand
If you’re in the business of finding, extracting, refining, and marketing hydrocarbons, such as Exxon Mobil (EOX), Chevron (CVX), or BP (BP), you could see your business fluctuate as use changes.
“These vehicles should practice very efficient eco-driving practices, which is typically about 20% better than the average driver,” said Chase. “On the other hand, if these cars are owned by individuals, I see a huge rise in the number of trips, and vehicle miles traveled. People will send out their car to run errands they would never do if they had to be in the car and waste their own time. If the autonomous cars are shared vehicles and people pay for each trip, I think this will reduce demand, and thus (vehicle miles traveled).”
Autonomous vehicles are also expected to be safer. “These cars won't get drunk or high, drive too fast, or take unnecessary risks—things people do all the time,” Chase said.
“Over 90% of accidents today are caused by driver error,” said Professor Robert W. Peterson of the Center for Insurance Law and Regulation at Santa Clara University School of Law. “There is every reason to believe that self-driving cars will reduce the frequency and severity of accidents, so insurance costs should fall, perhaps dramatically.”10
“Cars can still get flooded, damaged, or stolen,” notes Michael Barry, vice president of media relations at the Insurance Information Institute. “But this technology will have a dramatic impact on underwriting. A lot of traditional underwriting criteria will be upended.”11
Barry said it’s too early to quantify exactly how self-driving vehicles will affect rates, but added that injured parties in a crash involving a self-driving car may choose to sue the vehicle’s manufacturer or the software company that designed the autonomous capability.
Initially, insurers such as State Farm Insurance, Allstate Corp. (ALL), Liberty Mutual Group, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s (BRK-A) GEICO, Citigroup Inc.’s (C) Travelers Group could see a huge benefit from lower accident liabilities. But they may wind up losing a big portion of the $200 billion in personal auto premiums they write every year as fewer cars take to the road.
Some experts have even speculated that mandatory insurance for cars could be dropped. And as long as we’re talking about financial services, what about the multitude of banks and creditors that lend buyers money in about 85% of car purchases if sales volume falls?12
According to a University of Texas report, if only 10% of the cars on U.S. roads were autonomous, almost $30 billion of savings could be realized via less wasted time and fuel, as well as fewer injuries and deaths. At 90%, the benefit rises to almost $120 billion a year.13
Closer to Home
Self-driving cars could have a substantial impact on the taxi and limousine industries and could potentially create new ones. Chase noted that they could be used to share specific trips, as a kind of pay-as-you-go small-scale public transportation—for example, taking a disparate bunch of Manhattanites to the same beach in the Hamptons in one trip.
One study found that a fleet of 9,000 driverless taxis could serve all of Manhattan at about $0.50 per mile (compared to about $5 per mile now). At the time the study was published, there were licenses for over 13,000 taxis in New York City.14
Self-driving cars may also challenge train lines. “A self-driving car offers much of the convenience of rail service with the added convenience that the service is portal-to-portal rather than station-to-station,” Peterson said.
“On the other hand, a fleet of self-driving cars available at the station may make rail service more palatable. “The technology has already been adopted in closed systems, such as campuses, air-terminals, and mining,” he noted. “Rio Tinto Group (RIO), a large mining company, uses enormous self-driving trucks in its mining operations. European countries are experimenting with the platooning of trucks. Among other things, this saves about 18% in fuel.”
Risks and Hurdles
There are regulatory and legislative obstacles to the widespread use of self-driving cars and substantial concerns about privacy. (Who will have access to any driving information these vehicles store?) There’s also the question of security, as hackers could theoretically take control of these vehicles, and are not known for their restraint or civic-mindedness.
The Future of Waymo
In March 2020, Waymo Via, the trucking division of Waymo, was launched. According to Google, since 2017 Waymo Driver had been learning to drive large Class 8 trucks in the same way that it had learned how to drive passenger vehicles. Waymo is currently testing its fleet of trucks in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and has launched a pilot program for local delivery in the Phoenix, Arizona area.15
Waymo has partnerships with multiple vehicle manufacturers to integrate its technology. In October 2020, Waymo and Daimler Trucks partnered to create an autonomous version of the Freightliner Cascadia truck. This is Waymo's first foray into the freight industry. Daimler's trucks will be equipped with autonomous technology that allows them to drive without a human but only in pre-defined areas.16
Google’s Self-Driving Car FAQs
Is Google Making a Car?
Google has made it clear that it has no plans to build cars itself. Waymo is a self-driving technology company; it does not intend to manufacture and sell its own line of vehicles.
What Year Will There Be Self-Driving Cars?
Early estimates about self-driving cars being the norm by 2020 have turned into having a few research vehicles on the road by 2020. Even if the technology is not developing as fast as expected, computer-processing capabilities and sophisticated artificial intelligence systems are becoming more advanced and more affordable every year. It's not clear when all the pieces will truly fall into place to allow for driverless technologies to safely navigate public roads among traditional cars. While experts agree that there will be a time in the future when this is true, they disagree on the timeline.
How Much Does the Google Car Cost?
Google does not manufacture or sell its own cars. However, you can purchase a semi-autonomous Honda Civic that comes with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that control the steering, lane changing, acceleration, and braking while the car is cruising on the highway. You can also purchase a Tesla Motors vehicle that comes equipped with its semi-autonomous Autopilot feature.
The Bottom Line
However it plays out, these vehicles are coming—and fast. Their full adoption will take decades, but their convenience, cost, safety, and other factors will make them ubiquitous and indispensable. Such as with any technological revolution, the companies that plan ahead, adjust the fastest, and imagine the biggest will survive and thrive. And companies invested in old technology and practices will need to evolve or risk dying.
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Autonomous Car Privacy – 8 Scenarios to Explain the Enormous Complexity of this Issue
When we stop owning our own vehicles, we’ll be forced to adopt whole new mindset!
Over the coming years the conversations about privacy in driverless vehicles will become a delicate balancing act between privacy, security, and convenience.
Let’s consider a typical morning commute in 2030.
After summoning a car, it arrives quickly, recognizes you, and opens the door. “Good morning Mr. Johnson, where are we heading off to today?”
With facial recognition it already knows your most common destinations, and the stops you like to make along the way. But today is different.
“I’d like to pick up Mr. Norbert from Doggy Daycare and take him to my sister’s house in North Willows.” (Mr. Norbert is the cocker spaniel that he hates leaving at home while he’s gone. The sister’s house is already a known destination.)
“Would you like to stop for your regular cup of coffee before going to Doggy Daycare? I see a Tim Hortons along the way, would you like to stop there?”
“Yes, that would be nice.” (In this situation, Tim Hortons was suggested because the company paid extra to get premium placement on the car’s recommendation engine.)
“Would you also like to purchase a doggie mat for the backseat as well?”
“No he’ll be fine sitting on my lap.” (Since the car is already aware of Mr. Norbert’s bladder problems, sensors under the floor mats and seats are given a “monitor closely” alert.)
“Very well, will you be planning any trips this weekend?”
“Perhaps, I was thinking about taking Sally to the Fire House Bistro on Saturday evening.”
“Would you like me to make reservations for you at the Fire House Bistro on Saturday?”
“Yes, that’ll work. Let’s set the arrival time at 6:30 pm.”
“Very well, I’ll contact them now.” Two minutes go by. “The only times available for the Fire House Bistro on Saturday are earlier than 5:30 pm or after 8:00 pm. Would you like me to reserve one of those time-slots?”
“No, see if you can get a 6:30 pm reservation at the Capitol Club? And also, make it a reservation for four because we’d like to take our grandkids Jonathan and Beverly along.”
“Very well, I’ll contact them now.” Two minutes go by. “Good news, I was able to make a 6:30 pm reservation at the Capitol Club on Saturday for a party of four. Will you be needing car seats for your grandchildren?”
“Yes, I’ll need one carseat for Beverly.” (Once again, this request triggers a sensor alert for possible spillage and other messes.)
After stopping to grab a cup of coffee at Tim Hortons, we drive by a grocery store and a list of sale items appear on my screen. With a few taps, he adds them to his grocery list and a delivery service will drop them off this evening.
Just like every morning, my regularly scheduled conference call comes up and he finds himself part of discussion about next generation security systems for the office.
In this age of self-driving cars, an era when much of the minutiae of daily life is relegated to a machine, we can be as busy or as relaxed as we want to be. But overall, they’ll free up people’s time and attention to focus on other matters while they’re moving from one place to the next.
But there can also be a darker side to all this if you’re concerned about privacy. So let’s take a closer look at the privacy side of the equation.
In a driverless vehicle, privacy becomes a delicate balancing act with security and convenience!
Every trip we make in the future will have multiple parties interested in tracking our activities inside an autonomous vehicle.
Vehicle Owners – The company that owns the cars will want to know about any situation that could possibly compromise the ongoing operation of the vehicle. The list of possible “cleanup & repair” triggers will get more complicated over time:
- Spillage and trash
- Contagious diseases
- Known criminals
- Handicap people
- Illegal activities
- Terrorist activities
Governments – Since autonomous vehicles will be classified as “public transportation,” governments have an obligation to provide safe and efficient transportation while mitigating danger, and stopping harmful activities before they happen:
- Known criminals
- Handicap people
- Illegal activities
- Terrorist activities
Passengers – Anyone riding in an autonomous car will want a safe and inexpensive form of transportation:
- Safe and secure
- Easy to enter & exit
Advertisers – Having access to a captive audience is worth its weight in gold, however, it’s a delicate balance between being too intrusive and not enough. Contrary to what most people think, advertisers are not interested in spamming the world with ads. Rather, most are interested in specifically targeting only those people who will be interested in their products or services.
Loyalty Programs – Passenger rewards for being a frequent traveler will become a hot topic in the future. For this reason, having an automated system for logging trips and calculating mileage will become a critical feature.
AI Operating System Companies – The heart and soul of every autonomous vehicle operation will be an AI operating system that becomes increasingly anticipatory over time. Having the right cars in the right parts of the city at the right time will prove to be the first benchmark for performance. Beyond that, every AI operating system will get to know their passengers quite intimately, offering movies, games, music, recommending products, goods, and services, making accommodations for changes in jobs, lifestyles, and even working with quirky new passenger demands.
With driverless technology, our expectations will dramatically change!
Surveillance inside a vehicle will take many forms – visual surveillance with cameras, audio surveillance through microphones, GPS, sensors, air quality monitors, and much more.
As fleet owners offer customers a smooth, clean, comfortable ride from point A to point B, there are a staggering number of things that can go wrong along the way.
Whenever serious problems are detected, vehicles will be taken out of service until the problem has been resolved. However, any time a vehicle is removed from operation – either for cleanup, repair, spills, contagions, police activity, or any number of situations – expenses start mounting.
At the same time companies want to monitor what’s happening inside their cars, customers have many reasons why they don’t want anyone watching them.
Here are a few quick scenarios to highlight the size and scope of issues these companies will be dealing with.
1. Terrorist Scenarios
Autonomous vehicle companies will quickly become targets for hackers, hijackers, and any number of devious minded schemers. All parties involved – governments, passengers, and vehicle owners – will want to minimize these kinds of problems. When it comes to terrorist scenarios, problems will range from bombs, to poison, toxic cars, infectious diseases, spying on conversations, and more.
2. Divorce Scenarios
Many of those going through a divorce tend to have heightened levels of paranoia. With many worried that their qualifications and worthiness of being a parent will be called into question, many recently divorced people will want to travel incognito with their messy, unruly kids, dogs, and toys.
3. Celebrity Scenarios
At a certain point, fame becomes the arch enemy of being seen in public, and many will worry about word getting out at the driverless command center about their whereabouts. Paparazzi, stalkers, and even autograph junkies become a problem for those who just want a peaceful trip across town. These types of problems are quickly exacerbated when viral media stars and rapidly unfolding news stories focus a huge spotlight on anything they do.
4. Business Exec on Phone Scenarios
Many business executives routinely have phone conversations that, if overheard by those in competing businesses, could jeopardize the long-term competitiveness of their own company. Corporate espionage is alive and well, and operating at far more sophisticated levels than ever before.
5. Pets and Support Animal Scenarios
As the number of people living with pets continues to climb, pet owners increasingly expect their pets will be as welcome as they are wherever they go. With pets ranging from potbelly pigs, to chickens, dogs, cats, snakes, rats, miniature horses, parrots, and iguanas, the overall messiness of animals enclosed in tiny mobile spaces becomes a significant issue. Fleet operators will insist on specific “rider insurance policies” that will kick in whenever an animal is onboard.
6. Contagious Disease Scenarios
No one wants to contract a virus, infections, lice, allergens, or any other kind of transmittable illness inside a driverless vehicle. For this reason, fleet owners will have air quality monitors that continuously sniff and test air particles for anything remotely dangerous.
7. Messy Kid Scenarios
Even though you may love kids, few passengers want to climb into a car where an explosive diaper has been changed, a 32 ounce Big Gulp has been spilled, projectile vomiting is coating the seat-backs, or magic markers have turned the interior into a Picasso-wanna-be.
8. Wealthy People Scenarios
While rich people are willing to pay for absolute privacy, where all cameras, sensors, and recording devices are turned off, things will still go wrong, and fleet owners (and police) will want to know who is responsible. What if passengers get into a fight, blood everywhere, someone dies, or is thrown from the vehicle, how are these issues resolved?
The more personalized driverless vehicles get, the more conveniences they’ll offer!
When it comes to self-driving cars, the price of convenience is surveillance.
Massive amounts of data will be collected, as a natural extension of a driverless car’s functionality. These cars will rely on high-tech cameras, both internal and external, along with ultra-precise GPS data. This means cars will collect reams of information about the people they transport around, similar to the data Uber has amassed about its customers’ habits, but down to a level of detail that’s far more granular.
For self-driving cars to work, an enormous amount of data has to flow through their onboard sensor networks to be able to keep track of every car, person, or animal on the road.
The more personalized these vehicles get, and the more conveniences they offer, the more data they’ll have to incorporate into their operation. The future I described might be a few years away, but there’s no reason to believe it’s too far-fetched.
That said, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.
1. People will still own their own cars in the future, but it will be a rapidly declining number.
Transportation-as-a-service companies will first spring up in large metro areas and expand into small towns and rural communities. But few of the early fleet owners will be interested in small-town-small-profit communities, even though they might serve as a far more manageable proving ground. With both human drivers and autonomous vehicles sharing the same highways, a number of complications will crop up to impede progress.
2. Car manufacturers will most likely be the early fleet owners.
While software and tech companies are taking over many industries (i.e. some of the biggest banks in the future will be tech companies), car manufacturing still requires unique skills and companies such as Tesla, Toyota, and Ford will be in a deciding position as to how their cars will be used. They will also have the greatest potential for responding to rapidly shifting market demands. Self-driving cars will be heavily used, 24-7 if possible, and fleet owners will learn the nuances of customer preferences first hand, translating quickly evolving expectations into next generation design details in a matter of months. For this reason, it will be in the manufacturer’s best interest to eliminate every possible barrier between design teams and end users as they rapidly iterate from one design to the next, and grapple with emerging business models in the process.
3. One autonomous car will replace roughly 30 traditional cars.
There are roughly 273 million registered vehicles in the U.S. and replacing them all will be a long drawn out process. But here’s the math most people don’t understand. For a city of 2 million people, a fleet of 30,000 autonomous vehicles will displace 50% of peak commuter traffic. During off-peak times, 30,000 autonomous vehicles will handle virtually all other transportation needs. Peak traffic times will naturally be the hardest to manage.
4. Vehicle design will rapidly iterate from one design to the next.
Car companies have spent so much time in the race to get the technology safe and functional that they haven’t taken time to understand the evolving expectations of driverless customers. As an example, people will still pay more to ride in luxury vehicles, but our definition of luxury will change. Ease of entrance and exit will become important issues. So will lighting, visibility, noise levels, entertainment option, seating arrangements, and cleanliness. The operating systems for driverless tech will also evolve quickly as use cases grow and adaptive self-learning AI-based neural networks respond to every new situation. Eventually all technology to support human drivers will disappear, including steering wheels, dashboards, gas pedals, and brake pedals. Instead, vehicles will be designed around comfort, conversations, entertainment, project spaces, desktops, power outlets, and snacking/eating.
5. Child seats will be the most challenging feature to design in self-driving cars.
For parents, the safety of their children takes priority over virtually every aspect of their life. The elaborate process of strapping kids into their seat and buckling each of them into a five-point harness has become a routine way of life for moms and dads everywhere. Let’s face it. Kids are messy, dirty, get sick, throw up, toss things, and find ways to turn a perfectly clean vehicle into a waste management problem in a matter of seconds. At the same time, fleet owners will not want to ignore kids because they represent a significant percentage of the marketplace.
6. Other major design issues will include dealing with pets, service animals, handicap people, elderly, and politicians.
What if a daycare center needs a vehicle with six car seats? What if a dog trainer has to pick up four dogs? What if an assisted care center has three people in wheelchairs that want to travel together? What if politicians pass a law requiring fleet owners to accommodate all of these situations?
7. Next generation storage cells will mean that batteries will never have to be changed on autonomous vehicles.
If Tesla’s latest claims holds true, they will soon have a battery that lasts a million miles. This means the rest of the car will wear out before the batteries.
8. Car death and accident rates will plummet.
In 2018, roughly 40,000 people lost their lives in car crashes, and about 4.5 million people were seriously injured in crashes. Over the next three decades we will see a constantly shifting ratio of human drivers vs. autonomous vehicles. As human drivers decline, death and injury rates will fall. Our safest form of transportation is the airline industry. If we can get car safety even close to that of airlines, we will save tons of lives and lifelong injuries in the process.
9. We currently spend over $500 billion per year repairing people after car accidents.
This amounts to one out of every six dollars in the healthcare industry. Cars are taking a huge toll on our society.
10. How will autonomous cars affect retail?
In a big way! Over time there will be no more customer-facing mechanics, tire shops, brake shops, car washes, auto parts stores, or gas stations. Over 10% of retail is car related and likely to disappear.
11. Autonomous vehicles will be used to create driverless mobile businesses.
As we removed the driver from the equation driverless tech opens the door to completely different ways of doing business, ones that separate themselves from a permanent location. The number one challenge of traditional retail has always been driving customers to the store. As we move into a highly mobile marketplace, this type of business will soon be able to drive to where the customers already are.
12. Over 80% of driverless cars will be one-passenger vehicles.
Since 85% of cars on the road only have one person in them, and since one-person vehicles will be cheaper, it’s very likely that upwards of 80% of autonomous fleets will be designed around single passenger occupancy. Naturally larger vehicle can be summoned whenever necessary. It may be counter intuitive, but people will actually prefer to one-person cars.
13. Cities will lose over 50% of their current revenue streams.
When we combine the loss of sales tax, retail stores, income from traffic violations, gas tax, vehicle licensing, parking meters, and parking garages, the total loss of revenue to a city becomes a very large number. Keep in mind, cities will undoubtedly develop new forms of revenue but that will require considerable foresight and planning.
14. Driverless tech will likely trigger a city pension crisis.
Numerous cities have made overly generous long-term commitments to fund staff pensions, a commitment that will be especially hard to manage when revenues begin to drop. With increased longevity, most pension funds were never adequately funded in the first place. Since driverless tech will undermine many of our city’s existing revenue streams, the challenges they’re facing today will transition into a full-blown pension crisis for many of them in the future. There will be no easy solutions for bailing out these super expensive pension plans.
15. We will reach the peak demand for oil before 2040.
Once we reach peak demand for oil, stemming from a surge in wind, solar, and nuclear, prices will start to plummet. Driverless tech will hasten the shift to electric cars. There are many geopolitical implications that will accompany this change. Petroleum will continue to be valuable for making plastics and other materials, but will not be burned for energy at any scale. Many companies, countries, and investors have already started making plans for what comes next.
16. Location will no longer matter.
In the past, being in business was all about “location, location, location.” However, as the driverless world evolves, passengers will become much more involved in working, watching movies, and playing games throughout the commute. As a driver, we become very invested in the landmarks along the way, and understanding the context of our location. But once drivers become passengers, they will be paying far less attention to local landmarks. As a result, it will be far easier to just ask your car to take you to whatever store or business you want to go to, regardless of proximity to your current location. Perhaps a better way of thinking about this is that location will still matter, but it will matter differently.
12. Over 5 million acres of parking lots will soon become available for redevelopment.
Currently 14% of Los Angeles is dedicated to parking. We have an amazing amount of land dedicated to parking – over 5 million acres to be precise. Demand for parking will begin to dwindle over the coming decades and this property will be sold as prime real estate for redevelopment.
18. Owning a car will soon become a very expensive hobby.
Autonomous vehicles will cause car ownership to evolve from a necessity to a luxury, to an expensive hobby. As dealerships and gas stations begin to dwindle, the overall cost of owning and maintaining a car will begin to ratchet upwards. Once autonomous vehicles reach 20-50% of commuter traffic, the cost of traditional car ownership will skyrocket.
Entertainment options inside cars will grow exponentially.
19. Roughly 25% of today’s jobs will disappear as a result of autonomous vehicles.
Over the next 2-3 decades, driverless technologies will be either directly or indirectly responsible for the loss of 25% of all of today’s jobs. But that’s only part of the story. Virtually every aspect of society, in every country around the world, will be touched by driverless technologies, and the vast majority of it is destined to improve our global standard of living. Job losses will be offset by job creation. Businesses that disappear will be replaced by innovative new businesses built around the ingenious new capabilities autonomous vehicles provide.
20. The automobile insurance industry will dwindle to a fraction of its current size.
Total personal automobile insurance premiums in the U.S. stood at about $173 billion in 2018. According to KPMG, accidents will decline 80% by 2040 due to autonomous transportation. While the cost per accident may rise substantially because new cars and their parts are more expensive, once driverless tech hits its stride, the decline will be dramatic and result in sizable reductions in loss and premiums. More than 90% of accidents each year are caused by driver error.
21. The number of taxi and truck drivers will drop, eventually to zero.
In its place we will see many of the same people working at truck and transport command centers. Someone born today might not understand what a truck driver is or even understand why someone would do that job — much like people born in the last 30 years don’t understand why someone had ever been employed as a switchboard operator.
22. Lobbying efforts surrounding autonomous vehicles will get ugly.
The biggest losers in driverless tech will be insurance, banks, and auto dealerships and they will spend heavily to muck up the political playground for this emerging industry.
23. Driver’s licenses will start to dwindle as will the Department of Motor Vehicles in most states
. People will start using other forms of ID but biometrics and face recognition will pave the way for the inevitable digitization of all personal identification.
24. No more DUIs. Traffic tickets will dwindle and disappear altogether
along with traffic court, lawyers, DAs, and all the revenue streams they perpetuated. This will happen relatively soon since all driverless vehicles will operate at the correct speed and there will be fewer options for slipping between vehicles and racing down an open stretch. Speed junkies, for the most part will go away since few people will even care how fast they’re going.
25. Police departments will shrink dramatically.
With up to 80% of today’s police forces focused on traffic control, cops that survive the transition will soon have a far less visible presence and a substantially different daily routine.
26. Alcohol and cannabis consumption will rise.
Restaurants and bars will sell more because people will consume more, as they no longer need to consider how to get home and will be able to consume inside vehicles. Many self-driving vehicles will come equipped with their own mini-bars.
27. Tech companies will study every little detail inside each car.
Companies like Google and Facebook will accumulate data on everything related to customer movements and locations. Unlike GPS chips that only tell them where someone is at the moment, autonomous vehicle systems will know where people are going in real-time and how they’re preparing for what comes next.
28. Privacy mode for the inside of vehicles will be an upsell feature.
Privacy mode will be designed for those having business discussions, arguments, sex, affairs, doing illegal drugs, and much more. But it will come with heavy fines if the vehicle is somehow damaged or trashed during the blackout period.
As we enter the “driverless era,” the focus will shift to the passenger experience
My goal in writing this has been to spark your imagination about the dramatic changes that will soon take place.
Car designers today spend the vast majority of their time trying to optimize the driver experience. After all, the driver is the most important part of the ownership equation.
As we enter the “driverless era,” the focus will shift to the passenger experience. Very soon, cars with steering wheels will seem as outdated as dial telephones!
Fancy dashboards displaying dazzling amounts of information for the driver will become a thing of the past as riders fuss over on-board movies, music, and massage controls.
Some fleet owners will offer car experiences that are more conversational in nature, pairing socially compatible riders in a way to maximize conversations and improve the social environment. Others will stress the benefits of alone-time, offering a peaceful zen-like experience for those wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of work-life.
However, as we navigate our way towards a safer, more efficient society, we still have a few bumpy roads to go down before we see the light at the end of the tunnel.
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