Self-driving cars may soon be more than sci-fi movie props. With advances in mechanical and sensory technologies, there’s a real possibility that vehicles may become driverless in the very near future, some are saying as soon as 2020.
There are numerous theories on self driving cars and how it will all work. Here’s an overview of two, widely talked about business models regarding what “autonomous” cars will be like in the next 10-20 years.
The Take-Out, Self-Driving Car Model
Some experts believe self-driving cars will be more like Uber or taxi service; consumers won’t actually buy them but will just call on them whenever they need a “Lyft.”
If this model proves true, the transportation-on-demand service will upend the automotive industry and the subindustries that support it, such as auto repair and maintenance, auto insurance, and even ticket writing.
How does an officer write a speeding ticket for a driverless car, anyhow?
Rather than dozens of auto manufacturers with dozens of styles of vehicles, there will be a few different sizes and styles of cars to choose from. Vehicles will be standardized as will be vehicle’s ongoing maintenance & repair. It seems all brake, engine, transmission repair and more will mostly be one and the same with only a handful of variations. This model purports that people in droves will opt for the driverless car service option because it will prove far cheaper than traditional car ownership.
The Consumer-Owned, Driverless Automobile Model
The majority of auto manufacturers don’t buy that this will be the futuristic driverless car model. All the major players from Toyota and Ford to Mercedes and BMW are working on a driverless car. Even non-car companies such as Google and Apple have a foot in the driverless car phenomenon.
Those who support this model say the biggest barrier to consumers owning self-driving cars is safety concerns and industry regulations. Will a driverless car be able to stop in time to avoid a collision? How will it handle ever-changing issues such as heavy rain and black ice? It remains to be seen how legislatures will handle autonomous cars going forward.
Some experts believe that human interaction will be required in certain instances and prefer the term semi-autonomous vehicle instead. That is, the car may mostly drive on its own but drivers may need to slam on the brakes in an emergency.
In this model, repair for driverless cars will not change much. Perhaps automobiles will drive themselves to local auto repair shops when it is in need of an oil change or maintenance?