In the past few decades, both automotives and our driving experience have changed beyond recognition. Driving used to be a solitary act but the advancement of mobile technology has transformed our cars into hubs of connectivity. Since the invention of the car, we’ve seen automotives be redesigned countless times, yet this is nothing compared to the changes that we’ll see with the creation of self-driving cars. By 2040, it’s likely that autonomous vehicles will dominate our roads.
One of the biggest changes brought about by new autonomous technology comes is that people will no longer drive cars and cars will no longer be ‘driven’. Instead, we will all become passengers. In the future we won’t need to take driving lessons because our cars will be driving themselves. This has massive implications for our commutes, as we’ll end up with an extra 50 minutes a day to unwind as we travel to and from work.
Of course self-driven cars will change the future of motorization in other subtle ways as well. Insurers are going to have to transition towards charging fees based on mechanical risks and likelihood of a mechanical fault rather than a driver’s past record. Autonomous technology will truly bring us into a brave new world.
Fundamental Design Overhaul
As our role as driver’s changes to that of passengers, the design of our cars will grow to reflect this. Autonomous vehicles will force the automotive industry to redefine the way vehicles are designed and manufactured. Very soon, outdated components like steering wheels will be discarded in favor of communal seating areas and onboard entertainment systems.
In future, passengers will be able to enjoy high quality content through the use of 5G technologies to unwind during their commute. Likewise, designers will start to use electric power as the go-to method to sustain our cars. It’s quite likely that in twenty to thirty years, the fundamental car design trends of the automotive will change beyond all recognition.
A New Era of Mobility Services
One of the most interesting aspects of autonomous vehicles is the potential they offer in terms of mobility services. Self-driving cars would have the capacity to stand in not just as personal cars, but as taxis and fleet vehicles as well. We’re already seeing the foundations of these being designed with apps like Uber and Lyft being a steady replacement for traditional taxi services.
Likewise, automotive startups like Zoox have already been working on autonomous vehicles for use as taxi and in fleets. What’s even more interesting is that when fully autonomous cars are created, mobility services will become much more cost effective as no fees will need to be paid to the driver. It’s also worth noting that you won’t have to communicate with a driver either so you can commute in peace.
Carbon Emissions Will be Drastically Reduced
Lastly, the autonomous revolution will greatly reduce our fuel consumption and our carbon emissions. As drivers, humans are inefficient compared to machines. Vehicles driven by AI will be able to accelerate and brake perfectly to achieve maximum fuel efficiency. As a result, they’ll consume much less fuel whilst driving.
AI driven cars are much less likely to coast in incorrect gears and brake excessively. On a small scale, this will help save money and on a large scale this could save the environment. Some estimates suggest that the transition to autonomous cars could help reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 300 million tons per year. Autonomous cars will not only reduce our fuel bills dramatically, but will reduce our pollution as well.
Autonomous Vehicles = More Free Time
Ultimately, autonomous vehicles will lead to more free time. Rather than being stuck at the wheel trying to brace yourself for a day at work you’ll be able to relax for 30 minutes with your favorite music and some onboard entertainment. Whether this is in a personal car or a taxi you’ve hired in the city. In fact, many won’t even need to purchase a car in order to travel affordably.
In many ways handing over control of the wheel to AI may seem difficult, especially when so many of us enjoy driving on a day-to-day basis. Yet autonomous vehicles will give us thousands of hours of freedom that would otherwise be lost to the struggle of commuting. The future will bring us more transport options than ever before, with more convenience and better prices. Very soon, we’ll be commuting with our feet up as well!