Autonomous driving technologies are about to have a massive impact on the way we humans travel and live our lives.
Governments have known for years that something like 95% of all vehicle accidents are caused by human error, and the downstream cost of these accidents in terms of human misery and in financial impact is absolutely immense. Autonomous vehicles will eliminate virtually all human error accidents, and hence governments are keen to see these technologies develop as soon as possible because of the huge positive Impact on their citizens (and on government finances).
Up until recently it was not obvious to all but the most visionary few how autonomous vehicles would be introduced to be buying public who are very accustomed to driving their own vehicles. What has emerged is a concept building on very popular vehicle hailing Technologies like Uber, coupled with autonomous driving and coupled with electric vehicles, in other words electric “robo taxis”.
Citizens in most large Western cities have enthusiastically embraced services like Uber where they can hail low-cost rides from their smartphone. Autonomous taxis will eliminate the cost of the driver plus will reduce the accident rate by 80% to 90%, which will make the cost per kilometre probably 20% to 50% of the current cost of a Uber ride. Electric vehicles have only around 20 moving parts compared to around 2000 moving parts in an internal combustion engine, and as a result have massively less maintenance costs in the lifetime between 4 and 6 times as long.
The end result is that electric robo taxi services will enable citizens to travel initially around cities and ultimately anywhere rural for around one tenth of a cost of a Uber ride and for only 10 to 20% of the cost of owning a vehicle.
These services are coming to a city near you in one two three years, and as soon as citizens know when the services are coming they will stop buying vehicles. The impact on the world’s vehicle manufacturers will be dire, as well the impact on the world fossil fuel industry.
Ironically the First robo taxi service to market in any city will be able to charge price is way higher than cost and will make supernormal profits, at least until competitors manage to get their act together and get a competitive service going.