Have many of the people reading this article today already bought the last vehicle of their lives? The reason for the question is based on the fact that the new “robot cabs” will be so inexpensive that owning your own vehicle will no longer be such an attractive and winning business. This could happen perhaps within a decade, claim different studies on the convergence of electric cars and Uber-style travel apps, which together with autonomous driving could redefine the automotive market, specifically that of private cars.
The end of private cars: Is it possible?
Let’s break down some questions to find out if the end of cars is near:
Will electric cars be affordable?
Michael Liebreich, a sustainability expert who runs a transport and clean energy consultancy in London, notes that:
“Statistics suggest that we have already entered the era of electric cars: four million have already been sold and the forecast is that one million more will start driving on the streets in a few months. Many analysts estimate that there will be more than 100 million electric cars in the world by 2030.”
This is a highly significant figure and a breakthrough in terms of environmental issues.
Will we humans be able to relinquish control of our private cars to a computer?
Gary Marcus, a professor of Psychology at New York University who owns an AI company taken over by Uber, comments that:
“Driving can be a very liberating experience, but I believe this doesn’t mean we will always do it or that we should continue to do it. In the future it will be about safety – the day will come when driverless cars will be safer than people.”
However, the professor estimates that it will be at least twenty years before the autonomous technology works perfectly, as it is a very complicated activity.
On the other hand, gone are the days when buying a like-new car was a dream to be fulfilled and almost a social obligation. More and more millennials are not taking a driving test, simply because they are not interested and because they find many other alternatives.
Uber’s Andrew Salzberg says:
“Many millennials will never buy a car. Many companies are hot on the heels of Uber, offering new cheap and efficient options for getting people around. So even if the “Robot-taxi” revolution is a long way off, there are many more reasons why you may decide not to buy your own car.”
In conclusion, on the end of private cars.
Electric cars and ride service apps like Uber are progressing quite well, they are very well received especially among millennials. But the other component, automation, has a long way to go so that when it works it does so perfectly and can provide the necessary security to all users.
It is very clear that it will be well over 10 years before fully autonomous cars begin to circulate and thus the “robot-taxi” revolution can begin.
For the time being, what is happening is that human beings are preparing for the arrival of these new technologies, since the trend is that alternative transportation to the private car is increasingly used. So when this actually happens, the transition will not be difficult at all.