A new “passenger economy”, worth £7 trillion, will be created by fully autonomous vehicles by 2050, according to new research from Intel and Strategy Analytics.
The report, ‘Accelerating the Future: The Economic Impact of the Emerging Passenger Economy’, looks at the economic potential created when today’s active drivers become idle passengers. In other words, when cars drive themselves (at least some of the time), human time and cognitive surplus will be unlocked.
Self-driving vehicles, according to the report, are expected to free more than 250 million hours of commuting time per year in the most congested cities in the world. And that, it adds, has the potential to “reconfigure entire industries”.
New businesses models
Autonomous vehicles will also open the door to new business models. The report estimates that business use of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) offerings will generate $3 trillion in revenues, or 43 percent of the total passenger economy. Consumer use of MaaS, meanwhile, is expected to account for $3.7 trillion in revenue or nearly 55 percent of the total passenger economy.
“Companies should start thinking about their autonomous strategy now,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. “Less than a decade ago, no one was talking about the potential of a soon-to-emerge app or sharing economy, because no one saw it coming.”
“This is why we started the conversation around the Passenger Economy early, to wake people up to the opportunity streams that will emerge when cars become the most powerful mobile data generating devices we use and people swap driving for riding.”
Study co-author Harvey Cohen, president of research company Strategy Analytics said that autonomous technology will drive change across a range of industries and define a new landscape, the first green shoots of which will appear in the business-to-business sector.
“The emergence of pilotless vehicle options will first appear in developed markets and will reinvent the package delivery and long-haul transportation sectors. This will relieve driver shortages around the world and account for two-thirds of initial projected revenues,” he added.
They also have the power to save lives, apparently: the report claims that self-driving cars will save 585,000 lives in the decade between 2035 and 2045, which it dubs ‘the Passenger Economy Era’. Reductions in public safety costs related to traffic accidents could amount to more than $234 billion over that period.
The report goes on to show its workings: it reckons 94 percent of all accidents are due to human error. “If we conservatively assume that just 5 percent of these accidents are avoided in the decade from 2035 to 2045 due to pilotless vehicles, 585,000 lives will be saved during that time,” the report states.