Thursday, September 29, 2016

Will driverless cars be common by 2035?

Remember as a kid watching old Sci-fi movies where there were cars that drove themselves and drivers could coast with auto-pilot? It all seemed far off, as if pertaining to a futuristic society. Well, some of those "futuristic" ideas may actually be on the verge of becoming a reality - and they might be doing so a lot sooner than you think!

Today, automakers around the globe are currently working on various different technologies that not only include cars without drivers, but they're taking it one step further by putting these vehicles on the road.
For example, Audi recently obtained a permit from the state of California to test drive vehicles on public streets. Other auto makers aren't far behind as Volvo and Mercedes Benz are in the process of testing out different vehicles.

You may be surprised to learn that some non-auto manufacturers are also racking up miles with driverless cars as well. Google, for instance, currently has about 700,000 test miles on its own version of cars without drivers. IBM, Intel, and Cisco Systems are also in the game. With so many driverless explorations happening, it seems as though the future is now.

So what are the implications of all this? In terms of investment, it could be substantial. According to Morgan Stanley, the benefit of autonomous cars alone for the United States economy could be somewhere in the range of between $700 billion to $2.2 trillion per year. In any case, driverless vehicles are certain to transform the auto industry - and our lives - in many ways, likely by the end of this decade.

Source: Chris Bryant and Andy Charman, “Race Is on to Build World’s First Driverless Car,” October 13, 2014.

"Some Google employees have their self driving vehicles take them to work. These cars are a bunch of sensors, wires, and software. This technology 'works'." - Tyler Cowen