Is it possible your kids will NEVER learn to drive, thanks to self-drivingcars?

cars parked on parking lot during daytime

Here’s a thought-provoking tidbit: some experts believe fully self-driving cars will arrive soon enough that children born today will never drive themselves.

Henrik Christensen, head of the University of California at San Diego’s Contextual Robotics Institute,says, “My own prediction is that kids born today will never get to drive a car. Autonomous, driverless cars are 10, 15 years out. All the automotive companies — Daimler, GM, Ford — are saying that within five years they will have autonomous, driverless cars on the road." [1]

That’s true: all the major car makers are hard at work on self-driving vehicles, and many have stated goals to release fully autonomous vehicles to market within the next few years.

But could it be that hype is outpacing reality?

Nissan, for example, indicated at one time that they expected their self-driving cars to be available by 2020. [2] More recently, however, they’ve indicated 2022. [3]

Gill Pratt, the CEO of the Toyota Research Institute, says, “None of us in the automobile or IT industries are close to achieving true [full autonomy in all driving conditions]. We are not even close.” [4]

So, when will self-driving cars take over the world?

To address this complicated question, we must understand the factors driving the development and production of these vehicles in the first place, as well as the inhibitors that could delay the release.

For example, some industries will reap financial rewards, like transportation and logistics, which is poised to realize hundreds of billions of dollars in cost savings from self-driving vehicles. Other industries will face significant losses; the auto insurance sector could lose $25 billion in value as self-driving cars hit the road in large numbers.

Similar push-pull tensions play out among consumers as well. One mom was totally against self-driving cars, like many people, until she actually drove in one during an experiment conducted by Intel. [5] Afterwards, she acknowledged that not only could a self-driving car be safer than a human-driven one, it would also give her more time since she wouldn’t have to focus on the road while driving.

Will fears about negative effects put the brakes on the self-driving car industry, or will excitement about their benefits shift development into overdrive?

Download our special report, “What are the factors driving the shift to autonomous vehicles?” to understand the factors that will determine how quickly, or slowly self-driving cars will roll out.


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