Report: Autonomous Vehicles Displacing Traditional Models Over 25 Years

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
report autonomous vehicles displacing traditional models over 25 years

Per a report from Barclays, U.S. new-car sales may fall as much as 40 percent over the next 25 years as shared autonomous vehicles take hold of the market.

Analyst Brian Johnson said large automakers would need to dramatically slash North American production in order to survive a future where nearly half of all families in the market move to a vehicle shared by all members of the family, Bloomberg reports. General Motors and Ford specifically would need to cut production by 68 percent and 58 percent respectively to weather the transition.

Johnson adds annual sales would decline 40 percent to 9.5 million units annually by 2040, while the number of cars on the road would fall 60 percent to 100 million:

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.

The analysis points to the rise of four categories of vehicles: traditional models driven by those in rural areas; autonomous vehicles owned by a single family; “robot taxis” summoned via smartphone app; and autonomous vehicles in ride-sharing fleets such as van and bus pools. The shared vehicles would remove nine traditional vehicles from the road, with pooled units taking out 18.

Cost of mobility would also fall regarding the aforementioned robot taxis, with average rates per mile as low as 88 cents for a private car, and 4 cents for a shared two-seater. The category would prove a boon to transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft, as well as low-cost vehicle producers and autonomous tech companies.

[Photo credit: Audi/ Facebook]

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  • Speed3 Speed3 on May 21, 2015

    The average car is parked 95% of the day. That is a huge inefficiency. Before I moved to NYC from SF, my Speed3 was basically parked all week. Driving is great and all, but the cost of ownership is quite high. As soon as the economics favor autonomous cars (reliable transportation that fits your needs for less money than car ownership) people will make the jump. Because everybody really does want to own a brown diesel manual wagon, it's just that at the moment we have higher priorities and choose not to buy one.

    • Joeaverage Joeaverage on May 21, 2015

      My cars sit all the time too. Still - neither is worth much $ (age, miles) and sitting there costs me very little except insurance. All the depreciation is about done. To me, the parked car is just waiting to be driven. Every day it isn't driven, its another day it can be driven in the future. Of course if you have a two year old car worth $20K depreciating in the driveway - then yes, your point is valid.

  • Thegamper Thegamper on May 21, 2015

    I sincerely believe this is inevitable. I think the 25 years time span is probably optimistic. But consider this, it seems impossible now because the infrastructure is not in place. Autonomous cars are not reality yet, at least for the masses. It doesn't seem desirable now to have to call for a ride, wait, get dropped, do your business then wait. But what if there was an autonomous car around every corner. After putting in the request on your smartphone the car was there by the time you put your shoes on and got out the door. It was waiting for you after work, when you walked out of the mall, etc. And all your transportation needs were covered in just one or two hundred a month. No repair bills, no insurance, no gas, etc, etc. People who grew up on personal car ownership will probably not be keen on adopting this, but for a new generation, it will make financial sense. Those who can afford personal ownership, probably will always have their own car, but I could see this taking a huge chunk of new car sales off the table by the end of this century. It will happen. Period.

    • Clivesl Clivesl on May 21, 2015

      This, driving and owning a car is an expensive PITA for 80% of Americans. If they can get where they want, when they want, for significantly less than owning a vehicle, they will do it in droves.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on May 21, 2015

    Also, I want an A7 with 80s four rings motifs like they used to do. Put it a little lower on the rear door. :)

  • Djoelt1 Djoelt1 on May 21, 2015

    Human controlled cars can work with a remarkable number of subsystems partially functional or completely non-functional. Windows, climate control, power steering, emissions, lights, bumpers, sensors, door locks, etc. Humans can work around all these things. When cars are autonomous, every system will need to work perfectly at all times. I just don't see a huge number of car owners tying themselves to such a high maintenance and repair standard - at least not more than once.

    • Thegamper Thegamper on May 21, 2015

      There are a lot of problems this fledgling industry will have to overcome. There is also what I will refer to as the "Terminator Effect". As soon as these machines start killing people, and they will, nothing is 100% idiotproof, I am sure there are plenty of drivers who would rather die by the hands of their own stupidity and human error than to be driven off of a bridge or into an oncoming car by a machine even if the human error deaths are substantially larger proportion of highway deaths. The Amish still use horses. Perhaps those who don't embrace AI and autonomous machines will become a new religion. In the future people will stare and point at the odd people driving their own cars. Freaks! Man, that sounds like the plot of a great Sci-Fi movie.