An interesting report published by Intel is looking at a world where vehicles will no longer require a human driver. It is not going to happen tomorrow, but it is not too far away either.
The first signs are likely to become visible in the next decade. Most likely the first impact of this transformation will be felt in goods transportation and public transportation. Trucks are starting to operate in platoons, where just one driver can pilot several trucks at a time. A few US states have recently allowed platoon testing, Nutonomy has started self driving taxis trials in Singapore and much more will happen in the coming years.
The shift towards self driving vehicles is going to hit the jobs of millions of people that make a living by driving. In the US 1.7 million people drive trucks, 2 more millions drive taxis, limousines and other commercial vehicles. All these jobs are at risk.
A bleak future? Not according to Intel that foresee the rise of a “passenger economy” more than making up for the loss of jobs that we have today in a “driver economy”.
As vehicles will make do without the driver, new services and new jobs will be created in three main areas: Consumer Mobility as a Service, B2B Mobility as a Service and Pilotless Vehicle Services leading to a 7 trillion economy in 2050, the year when 50% of vehicles sold will be autonomous.
Consumer Mobility as a Service will account for 55% of the new revenues in the Passenger Economy. However one should not forget the forecast that self driving cars will have as side effect a sharp reduction in the number of cars sold, and circulating, thus decreasing the business of car manufacturers. This decrease will be compounded by the simplification of vehicles that will be powered by an electric engine, much less complex to manufacture -and to operate. Overall we can expect a significant decrease in jobs in cars manufacturing and this factor does not seem to have been taken into account in the Intel/Strategy Analytics report.
The transformation resulting from B2B Mobility as a Service will account for some 43% of the total revenues in the Passenger Economy. This will transform not just the logistics but also the way production is organised: this will go hand in hand with the Industry 4.0 revolution.
New emerging applications deriving from pilotless vehicles will account for a tiny fraction of the overall Passenger Economy, only 203 billion $, a a fraction of the 7 trillion but still a significant amount of money.
Additionally, the report points out that by 2050 over half a million lives will have been saved thanks to fewer accidents, with a saving of over 230 billion $ in medical bills thanks to reduced accident gravity and number, and 250 millions of consumer’s commuting time per year will be saved.