Driverless cars will have a greater impact than us just putting our licenses aside.
Peter Diamandis, a board member of Hyperloop One and chairman of XPrize, told Business Insider that fully autonomous vehicles will be on the road “well within five years.” When that happens, the way we live will start to shift.
Scroll down to see the four ways driverless cars will change our way of life.
Fewer people will own their own car because it will become part of a larger, shared service.
In Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s “Master Plan, Part Deux,” he said the company will launch a “Shared Fleet” program that will allow owners to make money off their Tesla when it isn’t in use. Basically, you could add the car to a fleet that others could summon when you don’t need it, like if you’re on vacation or at work.
Diamandis said this kind of strategy will become the norm going forward.
“It’s a really smart, not revolutionary idea, but really smart idea and I think you can see that happening from other car manufacturers as well,” Diamandis said of the Tesla fleet program. “Once that tips, I think we’ll head very quickly to a car as a service.”
Tech companies may play a bigger role in the car industry than traditional automakers.
“I think they will be around, but I think their dominance will change,” Diamandis said of the future of traditional auto companies like GM and Ford. “I don’t think it will be too dissimilar to what we saw with Nokia rising and falling.”
Diamandis said companies like Tesla and Uber will offer alluring ride-sharing services while technology developed by tech giants like Apple and Google will power a lot of traditional automakers. While this is going on, “the marketplace for cars is going to massively shrink.”
With driverless, ride-sharing services coming online, fewer people will need a car in their garage.
“That’s going to have some real economic pressures on car companies,” he added.
People will live farther away from work than ever before.
- Thomson Reuters
A lot of people have long commutes to work, but that will become more of the norm when driverless cars hit the road. That’s because a car can double as a place to work or relax if you don’t have to drive it yourself, Diamandis explained.
“I’m going to be willing to live a 90-minute commute outside of where I work because that 90 minutes that I’m commuting in a driverless car is time I can sleep, time I can do work – it’s my second space,” he said.
When driverless cars become part of a fleet, it will make it possible to order one with a bed or even a conference table in it so you can truly take advantage of the space, he added.
Cities will be designed to accommodate driverless cars.
- Andy Scales
“It changes the way we would think about engineering cities,” Diamandis said. “Most of the old cities we have today are basically designed where the roads are put down over where the cow pastures were.”
Diamandis said he could envision megacities being built where the Hyperloop is responsible for transportation outside the city, and driverless cars are responsible for transportation within cities.
We’re already starting to see some work being done in this vein. For example, Columbus, Ohio won the Department of Transportation’s Smart City challenge and is heavily investing in changing its infrastructure to support driverless and electric vehicles.