The coming age of autonomous cars
Autonomous cars are no longer just the realm of science fiction – and the social and economic implications are enormous. Cars with basic autonomous capability are in showrooms today, semi autonomous cars are coming in 12-18 months, and completely autonomous cars are set to be available before the end of the decade. Beyond the practical benefits, it is estimated that autonomous cars can contribute $1.3 trillion in annual savings to the US economy alone, with global savings estimated over $5.6 trillion. There will undoubtedly be bumps in the journey – including issues of liability, infrastructure support, technical, regulatory, consumer acceptance and even pricing/ penetration. After all the conventional automobile industry has been around for 110 years and the disruption in terms of performance will take time. On the other hand, climate related issues, gasoline prices, lower costs of running will be key to faster acceptance. There would be obstacles, but none of these currently appear to be insurmountable.