How self-driving cars will change the world – much faster than you think

Yesterday, 20 October 2016, Tesla announced that all future versions of its cars would come standard with all the hardware required to make them completely autonomous vehicles. Legislation may still be catching up, and the software required to drive these cars still not quite where we’d like it be, but it’s clear that self-driving cars are arriving faster than anyone could have imagined.

See this Vimeo promo video uploaded by Tesla:

Self-driving taxis are already operating legally in Singapore. Uber is trialling self-driving taxis in Pittsburgh, USA. Self-driving cars are being trialled in Milton Keynes in the UK (although they’re currently limited to driving at 5mph).

The next two steps are game changers, and will both happen faster than we imagine:

Driverless car system1. Driverless cars will become compulsory. The benefits of driverless cars, especially in terms of safety, traffic control and use of infrastructure (you don’t need parking garages, for example) are immense. Cities, and then states and countries, will very soon start looking at making zones where driverless cars are compulsory. The only compelling argument against this is from professional drivers who will lose their jobs (taxis, truck drivers, deliveries, etc), but this will not be enough to counterbalance the public and private benefits that will be gained from a driverless car system/network.

2. Once there are enough driverless cars in the taxi system, car ownership will become irrelevant. We won’t need to have our own cars, and we will find much more benefit in freeing up parking spaces and buildings than in owning a car.

These two shifts will happen alongside each other, reinforcing each other as they develop. They are not much more than a decade away.

Watch a short video our team recorded on this issue, and ask yourself if you’re ready for the deep disruptions facing your industry in the next few years:

The move to a shared driverless car world is happening faster than we could have ever imagined, and it will change the world as we know it more than any other shift we can reliably predict in the next two decades. How will it affect you? And what lessons can you learn?

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