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Car ownership is on the decline. More and more, people are seeing an increase in upfront purchase costs and not-so-appealing ongoing maintenance costs. Not to mention many people are debating about “access vs. ownership” and even “used vs. new.”
At the end of the day, transportation has become cheaper and easier while vehicle ownership is quickly losing its glamour for many individuals. There is also a lot of appeal for self-driving cars on a business level as well. For taxi companies, they could have self-driving taxies accrue revenue 24/7. Furthermore, a recent report that RethinkX published reveals autonomous vehicles will make up 95 percent of driven miles in the US by 2030, suggesting consumers buying these vehicles en-mass.
But while a lot of companies – especially tech companies – see the appeal in these vehicles and how lucrative the market is, there are additional things to consider. After all, if self-driving cars are to be replacing vehicles and overall car ownership, what is being introduced has to have certain conditions met. As a result, it’s critical that this form of automation needs to be safe for the end user. Thus far researchers have said that the risk of auto accidents will drop by 90 percent. Though that reason is weak due to the fact people have a larger tolerance for death by humans rather than robots. For this reason, Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua is essentially creating a formula where vehicles are virtually infallible – setting the groundwork for policy as well as what manufacturers can and can’t do but still providing room for innovation.
Another issue that needs to be addressed is the fact that because so many people own a car, we treat it like a second home. We keep our personal belongings in the car. While it doesn’t seem like much, this is one other reason so many people see the allure and appeal of owning a car. There is also the fact that people who own a vehicle get the flexibility of going wherever they like with whomever they like and whenever they want to. Even still, car pooling has started to become more popular as people have seen that luxury not as useful to them. This is further emphasized in an article Yale published. That being said, this rising standard can be easily met to self-driving cars to create a sense of ownership too. Some examples are things like content syncing and Bluetooth integration.
As we looking forward to the future, the attitude of people has shifted more and if owning a car is on the decline, it really is. Since 1983, there are fewer people obtaining their driver’s licenses. According to research conducted by the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan, there were three reasons individuals choose to not get a drivers license. They surveyed 618 individuals between the ages of 18 and 39. Those three reasons were busy schedules, high costs of ownership and maintenance, or it was easy to get rides with others.
With all this said, predictions – even well researched – shouldn’t be treated as conclusions. The future is unknown and the vehicles of tomorrow may not be what we all see today.