Autonomous vehicles are going to be here whether you are comfortable with the idea of a car without steering wheels or not. And a new study from Arcadis, HR&A Advisors and Sam Schwartz Consulting suggests that by 2030, autonomous vehicles will account for 15 percent of auto sales worldwide.
The study also predicted that almost 8 million people in its three sample cities of New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, will go for an autonomous vehicle as compared to a traditional one. The study also compared things like the cost of travel when you owned a car to when you used a hypothetical AV ridesharing (UberPOOL), to an AV ridesourcing (Uber, Lyft) service.
The study arrived at the conclusion that it will soon be easier and more cost-effective to simply hail an autonomous vehicle, as opposed to either purchasing a car, or hailing one with a driver. The maths is pretty simple. You see, a car without a driver would likely be owned by the company itself and since the company won’t have to share the proceeds with the driver, it will be able to offer rides at lesser costs.
The study also focused upon the harmful effects of AV adoption. We have already gotten lazy to the point that we prefer ordering stuff through an app rather than walking a few hundred meters to the supermarket. Mass adoption of autonomous vehicles is very likely to further encourage that behavior as the masses find travel using cars cheaper and more convenient than ever before.
Similarly, public transit will move towards extinction. But then, this is the price we pay for progress with less sustainable options disappearing. Then again, public transport might find a way to survive by becoming even cheaper by the adoption of AV technology on its own.
All in all, we need to be careful regarding how we go about adopting this tech. There is potential for disruption there, and it is going to happen whether we like it or not. However, we must ensure that adoption of autonomous drivers as and when it happens, takes the humans affected by the move into account.