We’ve all benefited from the advent of ride-sharing services and the shift towards affordable transport. Whether it’s a cheaper ride to the airport or cleaner technology from renewable energy sources, what we’re seeing now is the dawn of huge changes in the way humans will transit in the coming decades. Driverless electric vehicle technology and ride-sharing has opened the door for more possibilities than ever imagined, and quite frankly, a brighter commuting future. Currently, highway congestion in the U.S. costs an estimated $160 Billion per year. This is from wear & tear, lost productivity, and gas-burn during inefficient idling time (not to mention inefficient driving styles). The average urban commuter will waste approximately 42 hours per year in traffic – that’s about a full weeks’ worth of vacation.
Thankfully, new innovations in self-driving sensor technology will save us a week of road-rage and unhappiness. Market entrants like Tesla, Google, and Apple will help change the consumer choice landscape towards full electric and autonomous travel. Existing car makers are also quickly transforming their future-fleets to avoid displacement. It’s easy to imagine a scenario where consumers will no longer purchase their vehicle, rather ‘rent’ the time; combining aspects of driverless motoring and ride-share innovations. This will also change the utility of cars from centering on driver controllability and more towards design, where the cabin is an entertainment pod, making connectivity & luxury the focus.
A fascinating element of the passenger revolution will be the ancillary effects it has not just on auto manufacturers or consumers, but also on insurance, transit modes, and the future vision of transportation structures:
- Insurance: New insurance pay-per-mile platforms already exist, though a curious dynamic will be the disruption in the insurance industry when cars are fully autonomous and risk is transferred to the manufacturer
- Innovations in Transport: Creativity and future looking processes may make LA to San Francisco in 35 minutes more reality than science-fiction
- Artificial Intelligence & Self-Owning Cars: One of the more interesting thought-pieces on the subject might be a future where self-driving cars earn money by transporting passengers, using the proceeds for maintenance and code upgrades, all while being self-sustaining
- Highways that Create Energy (Piezoelectric Effect): The move towards energy creation with intelligent city design and micro impacts are an interesting way to utilize human movement to positively impact the environment and how we pay for utilities
There are countless possibilities in the way we’ll transport ourselves in the future. A unique aspect of these changes is that they touch upon multiple transformation categories that will take place across industry spectrums:
When asked “To Drive or Not to Drive,” it’s easy to see why one might wonder who will answer – you, or your car?