New report forecasts a 95% reduction in car ownership and significant improvements in journey efficiency
25 May 2016

The UK could have a 95% reduction in car ownership if it adopts autonomous cars on a mass scale, according to a new report published by industry specialist Vendigital.

Its findings also predict that an expansive network of self-driving vehicles could see drivers’ annual expenditure decrease by 90% and total journey times halve. An increase in driverless public transport would also make schedules more predictable and accurate, providing users with, on average, two extra hours of free time a day.

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Mark Waterman, head of industrial products at Vendigital and author of the report, cites the dominance of autonomous technology as “the biggest cultural change for several generations”.

"Driverless vehicles have the potential to dramatically change our lives for the better in a number of surprising ways," said Waterman

“The net benefits to society, the economy and the environment appear to be overwhelmingly positive and logic suggests that some version of the vision described will happen.” 

This shift would provide numerous environmental benefits, reducing CO2 emissions by 30 million tons annually and significantly limiting the use of raw materials. The elimination of driveways and parking would liberate more than 150 square miles of urban space, equivalent to one quarter of the area covered by Greater London, and drastically alter the cities we know today.

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The supremacy of these vehicles would also improve pedestrian safety, with Vendigital predicting that the system will save more than 7000 lives and prevent up to 200,000 injuries annually.

Economically, the shift is also predicted to be substantial, with UK productivity improving by £30 million, equating to a 1% growth in gross domestic product for the UK economy.

However, the repercussions are not all positive, as the report suggests many motor industry jobs could be threatened by this more efficient future. Although the network would undoubtedly produce its own jobs, these would not outweigh the expected job losses, which are estimated to amount to 500,000 jobs and £60 billion revenue lost in the service sector.

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The threat posed to some UK-based manufacturers is also significant, although those willing to get on board with developing driverless systems could be among the few net exporters.

“Driverless motoring is coming – it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’," said Waterman. "But the longer it takes, the less the UK might benefit.”

Waterman’s report predicts that an autonomous network could roll out nationally in as little as 10 years if effective planning were in place, but also concedes that a lack of planning could mean autonomous vehicles aren't adopted on a large scale for more than two decades.

Olivia Frankel

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Comments
9

25 May 2016
Hera is yet another hyped up story about how we will all be driving autonomous cars in a few years. The clue is in the name of the tales promoters, Vendigital.

25 May 2016
is a contradiction in terms. And so is 'driverless motoring'. There'll still be a need for somebody to babysit. And what does it say.... a 95% reduction in car ownership - don't make me laugh. How frustrating is it going to be when you stop and wave one of these things through a gap and it just sits there waiting for the owner to finish whatever Candy Crush level they're on, sit up, hit the override button and take control. How will it cope with a motorway incident, a lane drifting artic, a sudden shower of rain on it's sensors, patchy fog, a snow covered surface where everything is white, the kid that looks like it's about to run out into the road, the dithering pensioner that needs overtaking, the kerbs at the local drive thru', a blow out in the outside lane, a failed set of traffic lights.....? Their are so many variables that the back-up human is going to be sitting there on tenterhooks for the whole journey - they might as well be driving the bloody thing. And what if the dream does come true..? How are young drivers going to get road savvy? I'll say what I said before - if you really like getting to work without having to use your eyes, ears, arms or legs - get a bloody taxi.

26 May 2016
Get a bloody taxi and leave those of us not on the global conveyor belt to enjoy driving. Interesting that this report is so sure about how much GDP will rise and how much money will be saved blah blah blah, but indicates that car industry jobs might be lost !

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

26 May 2016
Driving is a chore for many, who would rather be on their mobile phone. Many are already doing that while driving. For those of us who enjoy driving, many journeys are a chore. Especially the morning commute. I look forward to autonomous motoring. Cobnapint asks how it will cope with various situations. Probably a lot better than humans. The pensioner will be in another autonomous car, so not dithering. There are sensors can see through fog. It knows exactly where kerbs are. It doesn't need traffic lights, cars talk to each other with redundant systems. Rain will affect some sensors, but there will be others that it does not. The danger points are: 1. The transition where it will have to put up with errors from human driven drivers. 2. Allowing a driver to take control from an autonomous system. This is very dangerous, people overreact in that situation and often do the wrong thing. It will be better to just have a big red button that brings the car to a controlled stop, not that it will be needed that often.

26 May 2016
Andy_Cowe wrote:

Driving is a chore for many, who would rather be on their mobile phone. Many are already doing that while driving. For those of us who enjoy driving, many journeys are a chore. Especially the morning commute. I look forward to autonomous motoring. Cobnapint asks how it will cope with various situations. Probably a lot better than humans. The pensioner will be in another autonomous car, so not dithering. There are sensors can see through fog. It knows exactly where kerbs are. It doesn't need traffic lights, cars talk to each other with redundant systems. Rain will affect some sensors, but there will be others that it does not. The danger points are: 1. The transition where it will have to put up with errors from human driven drivers. 2. Allowing a driver to take control from an autonomous system. This is very dangerous, people overreact in that situation and often do the wrong thing. It will be better to just have a big red button that brings the car to a controlled stop, not that it will be needed that often.

I agree, there are many people on the road now who really have no interest in driving, and so shouldn't be in 'control' of a vehicle. I would much rather those people were in an autonomous vehicle. But do I trust an autonomous vehicle to react to my actions, more than a driven one? No I don't. So the transition period, which surely will take many, many years, even if we ever get to that point is of great concern to me. Hopefully, as a keen motorist, who still enjoys the mundane journeys and the actual process of driving, this will not happen in my lifetime.

26 May 2016
BS

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

26 May 2016
But what will replace the monster truck in the driveway as a personal status symbol?

26 May 2016
Utopia in my life time. Never expected that!

26 May 2016
Which deity do you need to sacrifice to in order to make this happen? Is there a car jesus?

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