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5-min read

10 Surprising Ways Driverless Cars Will Change the World

From increasing alcohol consumption to reducing organ donation, here’s a rather unusual list of 10 surprising ways driverless cars will change the world.


Updated:October 11, 2018, 10:36 AM IST
10 Surprising Ways Driverless Cars Will Change the World
Representation image. (Photo: Volvo)

With driverless cars set to rule the roads (not Indian roads, though) by 2021, as predicted by the UK government and many trade pundits, they are said to change the face of personal mobility forever. So, a lot of automobile manufacturers and technology companies are investing a lot on the development of the autonomous project. They’ll undoubtedly make our roads safer, give us more free time and make our journey faster, but what are the less predictable consequences of driverless cars? Here’s a rather unusual list of 10 surprising ways driverless cars will change the world!

You probably won’t own your car

It’s likely that owning your car will become far less common, with think tank RethinkX predicting that by 2030 there will be an 80% drop in demand for new cars. One reason for this is that once driverless cars are introduced, it’s likely they will be based on a subscription model like Netflix or Spotify. They will be able to be hailed from any location. An estimate from KPMG recently predicted that by 2030, midsize car sales in the US will decline considerably from today’s figure of 5.4m units every year to less than half that number, 2.1m.

Millions will lose their jobs

Automation is the biggest threat to workers in several areas of industry such as farming, manufacturing and banking, but it’s transportation that will be affected the most. It’s predicted that up to 3 million jobs could be lost in the US from truck drivers being made redundant due to automation. It’s likely that the US would be the hardest hit, with truck driving the most popular profession in 29 states, which shows the seismic shift autonomous vehicles will cause in employment.

Alcohol consumption will rise

Researchers say that the introduction of driverless cars will create an increase in value for the alcohol industry as driving and drinking times overlap. A fully driverless car would enable its user to exceed the current alcohol limit before taking them home, with experts predicting that £50bn of value will be added to the alcohol industry because of this. Ironically, although there is likely to be more people drinking while in their self-driving cars, alcohol-related deaths on roads will likely disappear.

Your car might take you hostage

According to Munch Re, one of the world’s leading reinsurers, 55% of corporate risk managers believe cybersecurity is the biggest concern for driverless cars. Anything that contains a computer within it can be hacked, and driverless cars are no different. In 2015, cybersecurity researchers took control of a Jeep Cherokee 10 miles away from their position and made it crash. Not only did they make the SUV crash, they also had full control of all of the cars electronics such as the radio, heating and windscreen wipers.

Road rage will no longer exist

Road rage is a big issue for people traveling on road, including car drivers and pedestrians. The reduction of road rage could save lives. Recent data shows that 66% of traffic fatalities can be linked to aggressive driving of some kind, which can be one of the effects of road rage. Out of 38.6 Million license holders in the UK, a massive 80% of Brits suffered from road rage in 2017. Once road users’ hand over control of driving to the car, there will be no reason for road rage as each car will strictly adhere to road regulations. This reduction of road rage could save lives.

Waymo Autonomous Chrysler Pacifica. (Image: AFP Relaxnews) Waymo Autonomous Chrysler Pacifica. (Image: AFP Relaxnews)

Underage ‘driving’ could be legal

A study revealed that 38% of the public would be happy for their child to ride a driverless car alone. The UK government recently gave the green light for children being able to travel in a driverless car without an adult, with Transport Minister Claire Perry saying “‘I have a vision of the school-run driverless car where you wave your children off to school and they come back at 3.30.’ Trials are ongoing. However, the public may not be so quick to trust an autonomous car with their children.

Radio could be made redundant

Car radios currently take up 22% of the radio listening market share. Radio is a natural companion for drivers, with a large proportion of its business model centred around listening in cars, with its often popular “Drive Time” segments. The freedom of being a passenger without having to keep your eyes on the road means riders will be able to browse the news on their tablet, watch their favourite TV show or begin work before they reach the office. This could see a large number of radio listeners slowly turn off and do other activities during their journey.

There will be an organ shortage

In the U.S. 1/5 of all organ donations come from traffic accidents according to the US department of health & human services. In the US alone, 6,500 people die each year while waiting for an organ transplant with another 4,000 removed from the waiting list as they are considered too sick for a transplant. Once driverless cars are implemented, it’s predicted that they will lead to a 90% decrease in road accidents meaning there will be fewer organs available for people who need them.

An onboard display monitor shows other vehicles as a staff member of Toyota Motor Corp drives its self-driving technology "Mobility Teammate Concept" prototype car hands-free on the Metropolitan Expressway during the Toyota Advanced Technologies media preview in Tokyo, Japan, October 8, 2015.  (Photo: Reuters) An onboard display monitor shows other vehicles as a staff member of Toyota Motor Corp drives its self-driving technology "Mobility Teammate Concept" prototype car hands-free on the Metropolitan Expressway. (Photo: Reuters)

Car parks will be obsolete

Driverless cars will be able to make their own way home, meaning the £8bn British motorists spend every year on parking will significantly decrease. Approximately 95% of the time, we aren’t occupying our cars. That means they have to be parked somewhere. If your driverless car is part of a subscription service, they will leave you at your destination and make their way to their next pick up. This means that parking will no longer be necessary, especially in city centres and suburbs where journey times tend to be shorter.

Considerable savings in Health Budget

Every year, injuries from car accidents cost the NHS around £500 million in the UK. By 2030, car accidents will have been cut by 90% due to driverless cars, meaning that the NHS could potentially save £450 million each year as far fewer people will be seeking treatment. This figure sounds substantial but is still only 0.3% of the NHS yearly budget in the UK.

Story & Research Credit - Select Car Leasing UK

| Edited by: Arjit Garg
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