The Auto Industry has become one of the poster childs for an old stodgy industry that has existed for over 100 years that will completely digitally transform itself in the next five years. The 2016 CES Show (in Las Vegas) and the 2016 Detroit Auto Show were dominated by the announcements of new automobile technology. Self-driving cars are no longer science fiction. Complete self-driving cars for consumers will be available for purchase within two years, according to Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and within four years according Mark Fields, the CEO of Ford.
Dreaming of the Future of Driving
Imagine commuting to the office each morning without having to deal with traffic, road rage, construction delays and accidents on the freeways. You can read the news, eat breakfast, drink coffee, shave or apply makeup, all while relaxing in your car. You can prepare for any meetings and be fresh and relaxed to start your day.
During your work day, think about traveling between your business appointments, lunch meetings and running errands without having to drive or park your car. You can spend time getting your work done, like returning emails, texting, preparing reports and making phone calls.
When you travel home at night, you can finish up any last minute work for the day and then relax (and even try to meditate), watch a video, or play some games before getting home to your family or friends.
Well this vision of the future is a lot closer than most of us thought was possible.
If you are exhausted and stressed out from all the technology change you are living through in your personal and business life, buckle your seatbelt and hold on! We're about to begin a significant and permanent change to our driving lives.
It’s actually already started and you may not even know it. A friend of mine owns a new Volvo. Recently, he was about to open his garage door to leave and he accidentally hit the gas pedal instead of the brakes. The car lunged forward toward the closed garage door and instantly stopped about six inches from the door by itself. What he didn’t know was that Volvo had already added self-driving features to his car to improve safety. As a result, it saved him a lot of money, possible injury, embarrassment and aggravation.
So What is a Self-Driving Car?
A self-driving car is capable of sensing its environment and navigating without human input. Source: Wikipedia
Key Reasons You will Love Self-Driving Cars
Here are a few benefits:
- More Time for Work or Play - If you commute one-hour per day, you’re looking at 200+ hours (or 5 weeks) per year of extra time to get work done, complete personal projects or just reduce stress and relax.
- No Tailgating or Road Rage - Car sensors will keep cars at the appropriate speed distance from each other
- Dramatic Reduction of Drinking and Driving - Priceless
- Reduced Time Looking for Parking - Autonomous cars will drop you off and pick you up without having to find a parking space near your destination.
- Less Traffic in Cities - We will need less cars in the future as we move to self-driving autonomous cars
- Reduced Auto Accidents & Insurance Costs - Morgan Stanley estimates a 90% reduction in crashes will save 30,000 lives and 2.12 million injuries per year
Timing: What’s Coming, When?
A 2015 report by BI Intelligence estimates that by 2020 there will be 10 million self-driving cars on the roads.
As state laws are revised you will see more features available in cars. Look for five major phases of implementation:
Phase I - Self-Driving basic features have already been added to many new cars - like the Volvo in the above story and many other cars around the world.
Phase II - Cruise Control is renamed Driver Assistance - It will be available for freeway driving and then on surface streets. All Tesla cars have special self-driving features (as of 2015). When you’re on the freeway, the car will help you stay in your lane and slow down if you are driving too close to the car in front of you. The car will also detect a parking spot and automatically park itself. In March 2016, Mercedes E-class sedans will have the freeway features. Many auto companies will be adding these features over the next five years.
Phase III - Auto companies will add self-driving capabilities for driving on city streets with you still behind the wheel. Many experts estimate that we will see this by 2019.
Phase IV - Full Self-Driving Cars with no drivers behind the wheel (unless you love to drive) between 2020 and 2025.
Phase V - Self-Driving Car Services - Think Uber Car Service without the drivers. Uber is currently making major investments in driverless cars. Why? Because, over the next 10 years, we will see the replacement of many human drivers with self-driving car services. Look for driverless Taxis, Limos and Delivery Trucks between 2020 and 2025.
Some Final Thoughts
Self-driving cars will phase in over the next few years from basic features to complete autonomous self driving cars. Tesla implemented self-driving highway features in Q4 2015 and Mercedes in the second quarter of 2016.
"Driver" job opportunities will dramatically decrease over the next 10 years in the following areas: taxis, limos, delivery, trucks, buses, subways, trolleys etc. Over time, many people will reduce the number of cars they buy and own… and replace them with self driving car services… think, Uber and Lyft with self-driving robots in the future.
Today, we have theme parks to ride in horse-drawn carriages and experience the old Wild West lifestyle. Thirty years from now most young people will likely go on the “Drive a Car” ride to see how people used to drive cars in the “old days” of 2015.
Have fun shopping for your new cars and trucks over the next few years as these self-driving features become available to you.
Hang on to your seat... and enjoy the ride!