The times, they are a changin’! Up until this year, autonomous cars were the stuff of Bond flicks and Google projects. Now, three major automakers – Audi, Mercedes-Benz and General Motors – plan to roll out partially automated cars in 2015 and 2016. Fully driverless cars are expected to hit auto dealership showrooms by 2025. And according to a new study, they’ll be all the rage.
Conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy, upward of 12 million driverless cars will traverse America’s roadways by 2035. That figure represents 10 percent of annual sales of new vehicles – and we’re talking just 20 years away. Your kids will laugh at your silly, old-school, gotta-drive-it-yourself car like you laughed at that 8-track cassette player your dad just wouldn’t let go.
Of those surveyed, 44 percent said they would consider buying a fully automated car in the next decade, with many listing lower fuel and insurance costs and increased safety as primary reasons for making the switch. But the allure of other perks looms large among future car buyers, too. We Americans love to multitask, apparently. And the thought of being able to sip a latte while posting a selfie and still getting to work on time without causing a multi-car pileup on the expressway is def worth a few extra bucks – and average of $5,000 more, to be exact.
For busy types from corporate players to soccer moms, hands-free driving could prove a massive productivity boost. If nothing else, we might all have the chance to be as well-read as the average New Yorker who can easily take in the latest best-seller while headed to work on the subway. And, you millenials just might be the first generation who won’t have to experience the unique hell that is teaching a teenager to drive a stick shift without destroying the transmission.
Says Thomas Dauner, head of BCG’s global automotive practice: “This will be as radical a change as the auto industry has seen in 100 years.”
Are you ready for such a radical change, or are you simply too enamored with the feel of your hands on the wheel of a fast car? Post your thoughts on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.