Since the first T-Model rolled off of Ford’s assembly line in the early 1900s, the automotive industry has remained consistently consistent. We mean, sure, the cars have changed in terms of design and performance, but at the end of the day, a car has been a car. You step inside, drive it from point A to point B, interact with other cars on the road, and that’s that.
More than a century later, the car industry is pivoting toward technology that will make such moments rare, and eventually, nonexistent. That technology is both electrification and automated self-driving — a double-whammy of innovation the likes we’ve never seen before in the industry.
Artificial intelligence, in particular, will have a transformative effect on everything. Heck, it already does, but that influence will only increase with time. Right now, AI is buying and selling stocks on its own. It’s setting betting lines on your favorite online sportsbook. Next, it will control traffic on the street.
For the purpose of this article, let’s break down the AI- and electric-powered changes that are in store for automotives and how it will personally impact your life. We don’t have a crystal ball on when these changes will unfold — no one does — but regardless, all signs point toward the following happening over the next decade:
Self-Driving Cars Will Free Up Our Time
If you live in a big city pre-pandemic, there’s a good chance you spend hours of your day sitting in a car driving to and from work, running errands, getting food, and so much more. Generally, these traffic-jam hours are low value. Sure, you can flip a podcast on to learn something new, but typically, you must be attentive while driving, which means there’s little room to do anything else productive.
Of course, that’s not the case with fully self-driving cars. Without you on the wheel, well, you can seemingly do anything else — get ahead on work, study up on a new skill, or heck, just catch up on the latest Netflix hit. This extra time adds up in the long run. Even if you save one hour a day, five days a week, that equates to 260 hours per year, which is no small sum.
That’s the obvious example for time-saving thanks to self-driving, but there’s one more: the amount of car-related deaths will plummet, thus giving people many more years of their life back. Like many other things, the systemic approach that AI does driving will prove to be more efficient than prone-to-error humans.
Many Of Us Will No Longer Own Cars
Think about it, an Uber or Lyft ride is already cheap as is, right? What do you think happens when you remove the driver? What about when it’s an electric car rather than a gas one, which becomes cheaper to fill up and maintain? Welp, you got bottom-of-the-barrel prices on ride-hailing.
Due to those can’t-beat prices, many people — mainly city-dellwer — will not own personal cars themselves, instead opting for autonomous ride-hailing to get around. Because of that, automakers will become more B2B than B2C, working more with ride-hailing operators than actual consumers.
Similarly, the car insurance business will also fall off a cliff. Public transport like buses and trains will likely be replaced altogether. So as you can see, it’s not just the automotive industry being disrupted, it’s everything around the transportation marketplace, too.
Certain Precious Life Moments Will Make History
In the grand scheme of things, these next changes are very minute (especially compared to the previous ones), but we just couldn’t resist ourselves. It really humanizes what’s to come.
At least in America, the car is associated with many pivotal life moments. Driving a car for the first and earning a license to do it legally is a rite of passage for 16-year-olds. Similarly, many young and old Americans alike dream of the cross-country roadtrip experience. But with an autonomous vehicle, both these life moments are rendered useless. We could name more of these car-related life experiences, but we’ll let your imagination fill in the blanks.
All in all, the path to driverless cars will not be without roadblocks. But this future is a matter of when, not if. Brace yourself for culture-shifting change now before it sneaks up on you.
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