Story 2015-05-21 9ER4 Driverless cars may reduce U.S. auto sales 40% by 2040

Driverless cars may reduce U.S. auto sales 40% by 2040

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in environment on (#9ER4)
Self-driving cars have become a frequent topic for auto executives as the technology for the vehicles emerges. The market for autonomous technology will grow to $42 billion by 2025 and self-driving cars may account for a quarter of global auto sales by 2035, according to Boston Consulting Group. By 2017, partially autonomous vehicles will become available in “large numbers,” the firm said in a report in April.

But self-driving cars may cause U.S. auto sales to drop about 40 percent in the next 25 years because of shared autonomous vehicles, forcing mass-market producers to slash output, a Barclays Plc analyst said. Vehicle ownership rates may fall by almost half as families move to having just one car. Driverless cars will travel twice as many miles as current autos because they will transport each family member during the day. Sharing autonomous vehicles, acting like a robot-taxi, could push that even lower. Every shared vehicle on the road would displace nine traditional autos, and each pooled shared vehicle would take the place of as many as 18, according to the report.

Automakers are working to overhaul their business models for a world where mobility is being redefined as most of the global population crowds into large megacities during the next two decades. Driverless cars that move in harmony may become essential to keep people and goods flowing safely and efficiently. Embracing the disruption may be the only way to keep pace with alternative forms of transportation competing with automobiles in this changing world. “While extreme, a historical precedent exists. Horses once filled the many roles that cars fill today, but as the automobile came along, the population of horses dropped sharply.”
Reply 16 comments

Good (Score: 2, Interesting)

by fishybell@pipedot.org on 2015-05-21 07:42 (#9EWJ)

There are too many cars polluting the skies and requiring vast quantities of landscape to be paved for roads and parking. Also of note, driverless cars won't just impact US automakers, they will impact all automakers. There will likely be a short lived (in the 10ish year time span) boost in sales as everyone gets theirs, then people will just relax and enjoy. As an avid driver, I'm only worried (and even then, just slightly) that driverful cars will at some point be banned.

As a side note, I expect driverless cars to last longer than driverful cars due to the cars always driving smoothly and the potential for the car to drive itself to the mechanic for maintenance.

Re: Good (Score: 1)

by billshooterofbul@pipedot.org on 2015-05-21 15:54 (#9FWE)

Hmm... From reading the summary, I don't think this will necessarily mean less miles traveled by cars. Just less cars. If I'm going to work at 8:00 and leaving work only at 5:00 and my wife needs the car to run errands. All of that can be done with one car, but today uses two, because my wife might not want to drop me off and pick me up from work ( at an hour's commute each way durring traffic, that kind makes sense) . So now if the car can just return home after dropping me off, it doesn't suck an additional four hours from her day where she could be doing other things. The down side is that instead of just operating for two hours a day taking me to and from work, it now operates four hours a day.

But obviously not spending the resources and energy to create a second car saves the enviornment a bit.

Re: Good (Score: 1)

by tanuki64@pipedot.org on 2015-05-21 18:15 (#9G57)

From your use case above I don't know, if you don't overlook something. Many families cannot afford two cars. So everything has to done be with only one car. Many people manage. Some probably with optimizations, which not require additional tours. If now a car can drive alone from one to the other owner, it really might mean more traffic. Less thinking and compromises necessary to achieve the same effect easier and more convenient. Additionally sooner or later people will notice 'hey, my car sits most of the time motionless around... it could make me money, if it transports people when I don't need it. So someone develops an app, which calls stand-by private cars, which are registered for this service... kills the cap driver business and possibly other forms of public transportations. It might make less cars necessary, but it might at the same time increase traffic. The net effect? I have not idea.

Re: Good (Score: 1)

by billshooterofbul@pipedot.org on 2015-05-21 19:13 (#9G8E)

There are existing car share services which work fairly well in metro areas. I'm in more of a suburban area. Where they aren't as common, nor is public transportation readily available. Of course, if the car comes to you, that's even better and might make it viable.

Four hours out of one's day might be enough of an inconvenience to inspire someone to buy an additional car. Depending on their income and their responsibilities. My parents did that for quite some time. I think the third child made them decide that they needed to do get a second cheaper car. Getting all of us kids in the car so my dad could get to work on time was a chore. He also worked odd hours, so she would occasionally wake us up at 1:00 am to pick him up.

Re: Good (Score: 2, Informative)

by kwerle@pipedot.org on 2015-05-21 23:51 (#9GNV)

From your use case above I don't know, if you don't overlook something. Many families cannot afford two cars.
https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=how+many+cars+does+the+average+american+own
According to a February study by Experian Automotive, which specializes in collecting and analyzing automotive data, Americans own an average of 2.28 vehicles per household, and more than 35 percent of households own three or more cars.Jul 27, 2008

Re: Good (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org on 2015-05-22 05:13 (#9H1J)

There are too many cars polluting the skies and requiring vast quantities of landscape to be paved for roads and parking.
It's likely pollution will increase. Automation will make it cheaper and easier for vehicles to drive MORE miles. Who needs trains when you can stick a mattress in your car, tell it to drive across the country, and just wake-up in a new city? Mass-transit will have an even harder time competing. The switch to EVs and hybrids could help with pollution (and road noise), but that's really independent of the introduction of self-driving cars.

It could mean we get away with fewer parking-spaces, but will probably require even MORE roads. Automated cars should more efficiently utilize existing roads, but when miles driven climbs substantially, you'll still hit capacity limits.

In SciFi predictions (Score: 1)

by kwerle@pipedot.org on 2015-05-21 15:10 (#9FS4)

The article forgot to mention that AI may make all knowledge workers redundant!!!

So if some technology that is 'on the cusp' comes to fruition and people adapt it widely and their purchasing patterns change drastically then the 'big 3' - that used to be the 'big 5', but which have been failing to meet consumer desires - may need to adapt.

I'm waiting with baited breath.

Re: In SciFi predictions (Score: 1)

by billshooterofbul@pipedot.org on 2015-05-21 15:56 (#9FWF)

Who were the big five?

Big three: Ford, GM, Chrystler right?
Big five: Big Three + AMC + ??

Re: In SciFi predictions (Score: 1)

by bryan@pipedot.org on 2015-05-21 17:33 (#9G3B)

But in recent years; Toyoda, Volkswagon, and Hyundai all make more cars than any of those American manufacturers.

Re: In SciFi predictions (Score: 1)

by billshooterofbul@pipedot.org on 2015-05-21 19:20 (#9G9E)

Well, except for GM. Its still number two in the world according to that article. At times its traded the Number one position with Toyota.

Re: In SciFi predictions (Score: 1)

by kwerle@pipedot.org on 2015-05-21 23:57 (#9GNW)

Quite right - big 3. Was it airlines that used to be the big 5?

Anyway, the points are that US manufacturers haven't been keeping ahead, and lots of stuff would have to change for there to actually be something for them to adapt to.

Not that I'm hoping things won't change. I want my next car to drive itself.

Re: In SciFi predictions (Score: 1)

by billshooterofbul@pipedot.org on 2015-05-22 17:07 (#9JCM)

Not sure, I'm not well versed in the history of airlines or cars. I kind of wish I was. I was kind of guessing that it might have been packard?

Re: In SciFi predictions (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org on 2015-05-22 05:02 (#9H1B)

The article forgot to mention that AI may make all knowledge workers redundant!!!
Sweeping predictions of AI taking over the world have been falling-short for the past half century. I'd say we've got a few hundred more years before we need to worry about it.

As long as there is ONE JOB out there, which humans can do just slightly better than machines, the economy won't collapse. Sure, you won't earn much money for, say, sorting rocks by shape and texture, but you'll live quite comfortably since extreme automation drove prices of everything very nearly to zero at the same time.

Re: In SciFi predictions (Score: 1)

by billshooterofbul@pipedot.org on 2015-05-22 18:56 (#9JJR)

Not sure. I always Imagined that as automation goes up, the wealth gap also goes up. As those with capitol spend it in such a way that it does not benefit laborers. Rich Guy A buys ipad from Rich Guy B. Ipad completely automated, zero humans involved in the design or manufacturer of said Ipad. Rich Guy B just owns the robots that did everything.

Of course that's just a gut reaction. I'd have to do some modeling to see how that would work in practice. But historically there was a dynamic between labor and capital that lead to the betterment of all. With devalued labor, I'm not so sure that still holds. We may return to a middle ages style of serfdom or worse.

Re: In SciFi predictions (Score: 3, Insightful)

by evilviper@pipedot.org on 2015-05-22 21:56 (#9JWW)

I always Imagined that as automation goes up, the wealth gap also goes up. As those with capitol spend it in such a way that it does not benefit laborers.
Go back several hundred years, and you don't see a nice even distribution of wealth, despite the lack of automation. Instead, the wealth gap is caused by laws (like taxes) that are too-favorable for the wealthy, disadvantaging the middle-class... Property, stocks, and other assets appreciate faster than wages, while being subject to much-lower tax rates. As long as that holds, the wealth gap can only continue increasing, and it will do so regardless of the progress of automation.

It's automation that has made goods so incredibly affordable, today, that people can afford huge volumes of stuff. Go back before the industrial revolution, and you'll see homes that are nearly barren of commercially-produced goods... Remember when people had 90-hour work-weeks, and still couldn't afford to pay rent and food? Compare to today's 40-hour work-weeks, with everyone spending less than 15% of their income on all the food they can eat. When was the last famine in the western world?
But historically there was a dynamic between labor and capital that lead to the betterment of all.
That dynamic only existed for a very brief period, and it wasn't ever the case that paying for more, less-productive labor, benefited anyone. Instead, it was the growing efficiency of labor (assisted by automation) that made it possible for those jobs to become high-paying. And the US was on top because automation allowed high-paid union workers to make products that were exported to 3rd world countries, cheaper than being built locally by poorly-paid 3rd world laborers without the automation.
Rich Guy A buys ipad from Rich Guy B. Ipad completely automated, zero humans involved in the design or manufacturer of said Ipad. Rich Guy B just owns the robots that did everything.
1) This ipad can be manufacturered for $1 more than the cost of materials. If Rich Guy A tries to sell it for more than that, Rich Guy C will be able to start making ipads cheaper and will sell them to Rich Guy B.

2) As long as there are ANY jobs left for humans, even modest wages will allow those workers to afford a large amount of said ipads, thanks to automation driving the prices towards zero. And the cost of materials will continue to fall as well, as the automation allows for cheaper solar power, and more efficient mineral extraction and more.

Re: In SciFi predictions (Score: 2, Funny)

by moveonover@pipedot.org on 2015-05-23 14:42 (#9KZ9)

Wow, somebody who understands economics! This is rare even among economists.