By on May 20, 2015

Audi A7 Piloted Driving Vehicle At CES 2015

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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39 Comments on “Report: Autonomous Vehicles Displacing Traditional Models Over 25 Years...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Robots In Every Home By 1960!

  • avatar
    pdl2dmtl

    Vaporware.

    Uber? The list of countries banning them is growing.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    People aren’t going to want to share transportation space in the future any more than they already to. Nor will they want to wait for their autonomous pod to return to them from wherever another family member was dropped off. Personal vehicles = freedom, and that won’t change depending on how the vehicle is navigated.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      When we actually have fully autonomous vehicles (whenever that is), the primary purpose won’t be to cart around humans. They real technology will be a robot capable of driving for the purpose of running errands. Why have a car drive you to the supermarket when you can have a robot that could drive to the supermarket, do the shopping, and come home and cook. Here’s a link to the current DARPA challenge:

      http://ir.polaris.com/investors/news/news-details/2015/Robots-to-Drive-Polaris-RANGER-at-DARPA-Robotics-Challenge/default.aspx

      The technology to drive a car has other capabilities and will be expensive, so it shouldn’t be tied to a single vehicle or use.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        All new models are certainly Three Laws compliant.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Groceries: you order online, the store automation puts together a milkcrate type container(s) of your purchases and you send your car when it is ready. The car pulls up and the crates are put in the trunk and the car returns home.

        Then about five years later, folks realize that they LIKED going to the grocery store b/c they had the opportunity to look at all the pretty packaging. Too much time on their hands… ;)

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        If only there was a way to pick up a phone or use a computer to have things delivered.

        Oh, wait a minute…

  • avatar
    redliner

    “annual sales would decline 40 percent”

    So in this new future, we are all going got be using shared UberLyfts and have one vehicle per household? How does that work out when little Jenny needs to get to school, mommy and daddy have to go to work and Jimmy needs to get to his job interview ALL at the SAME TIME and in different places?

    The only thing that will make Americans drive less and own fewer cars if if they can’t afford any other option. It’s like ridding the bus. In theory its utopian bliss, in reality, anyone who can afford a car usually prefers the car instead.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Just imagine the varieties of humanoid you’d have to be sharing cars with in 10 years. Such new aromatic and tactile experiences await us!

    The interior had better be covered with those “Sanitized For You Protection!” liners from the old days’ toilet seats.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Everyone assumes that autonomous taxis will be used by poor, dirty people and therefore will be in a continuous disgusting state. While a truly autonomous taxi is way off, I would expect them to be segregated by price so that the poorest people would still be limited to mass transit, and usage will be closely monitored by one’s payment via smartphone, so there will be strong financial incentives not to trash the interior lest one be billed for cleaning.

  • avatar

    I was promised FLYING CARS By 2012.

    Terrorism, economics and common sense said otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      When is Mattel coming out with my Hoverboard?

    • 0 avatar
      OneAlpha

      I’ve always thought that computers were a consolation prize compared to the fusion reactors, laser rifles, jet packs and rocket ships we were supposed to have by now.

      It’s the 21st Century, dammit! Where’s my future?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I think you need computers first before you can get the rest of that, so in my view not a consolation prize.

        What will impress me is a mainstream chip which can consistently run at maybe 5-10ghz without exotic cooling. If you happen to notice, actual chip speeds haven’t changed in awhile, but all of the other components have improved (memory speeds, HDD speeds, bus speeds, graphic card speeds, number of cores etc).

  • avatar
    Charliej

    Is everyone who comments on this site under thirty five? I can tell you who will welcome self driving cars. The elderly, who are trying to maintain their life of living alone or with their, equally old, significant other. I am almost seventy. I am looking at having to give up driving in the next ten or fifteen years. I will welcome self driving cars, and I think that you will too. If you are lucky enough to reach old age.

    • 0 avatar
      orenwolf

      I think it’s quite the opposite. Those under 35 are the ones *using* uber and zipcar today, happily, in urban locations, and already share busses, subways, and taxis with all these “scary”, “foul-smelling” folk. Interestingly they don’t care, since Zipcar already cleans their vehicles regularly and I’m sure you’ll be able to report autonomous cars for needing a cleaning as well in short order (and of course, the previous occupant will be noted as leaving the car unclean, just as with zipcars today).

      The truly elderly (i.e., those who will soon be unable [or not allowed] to drive themselves) will welcome this world, as will their children who no longer have to drive them everywhere.

      That leaves what I presume is the majority of commenters here – those who are edging towards their half-century mark or later, and not especially happy about all these damn kids on their lawns playing their devil music and changing *their* world because, goddamn it, they worked for their place.

      But that’s fine. They’re also the people who wouldn’t be caught dead buying new cars anyway, they’d rather keep them for decades and buy off-lease or somesuch, and as a result will make themselves irrelevant in the long run.

      Uber in Toronto (yes, Toronto, who is trying to ban them) just launched UberEats, lunch delivery for downtown folk, from curated menus of top restaurants. A bunch of my friends have tried it and love the convenience. *Uber* may be evil and going about this the wrong way, but if people think the convenience that Uber provides is going to suddenly stop being desired, then I think those same people will be disappointed.

      The future will arrive despite the codgers on their patios saying laws, money, or spectre-of-the-day will get in the way. Because ultimately they will realize *they* are not the target market, and therefore irrelevant.

      But I *do* hope they keep commenting here! It’s great to read all of these opposing points of view, if only for some great claim chowder a few years from now as each of these “will never happen” advances actually do happen. :)

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Actually, the technology is moving beyond dedicated autonomous cars. We’re developing robots to drive modified conventional cars and perform other domestic tasks. That’s the technology that will win out. It’s already happening – the press and automakers are a bit slow to catch up: https://goo.gl/wDcntl

        At the extreme bleeding edge, there are researchers looking at going beyond electronics and looking towards the biology and quantum biology world to implement the technology. http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/editions/quantum-life/9780593069318

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “Is everyone who comments on this site under thirty five?”

      As an elderly person shouldn’t you have a grasp of the enormous technical, economic and political barriers inherent in trying to move the US over to a one-pod-fits-all automated mode of transportation?

      I’m all for a nation of computer-guided, crash-proof private vehicles. But how and over how long a time could you sweep the roadways clear of ancient clunkers and dilapidated trucks driven by the tired, the drunk and the angry?

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      +1 My thoughts too. My grandmother could use one of the self driving cars now. My wife has had very serious vision issues as well and I expect there to be a day when she can no longer drive either. We are thinking forward about 25 years and considering a move closer to our jobs and the grocery store.

      I won’t immediately trust self driving cars nor will I spend $100K for one when I can walk to the store and/or plan ahead. A coworker who can not legally drive does this – walks to the store and work. Relies on his wife and friends when the weather is lousy. A different friend lives in a small town and is legally allowed to drive her golfcart everywhere.

  • avatar
    SWA737

    I’m not a tech guy, but I know a bit about bad guys who intend to do us harm. Do you guys remember when the Iranians hacked and captured an RQ170 a few years back? Cyber terrorists would have a field day with a highway full of dozing infidels during the morning rush hour.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Yeah, right. I keep hearing a line Ernest Borgnine had in an old episode of Airwolf:

    “Primitive. I’ve been hearing that word all my life, and you know what? We still dig holes with shovels.”

    Until a computer can be more flexible and reactive than a human being, we’ll be doing the driving. HAL can keep his job as second banana.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    I’m currently 68 and I hope to be able to drive for another 20 years or so…assuming that laws are not passed banning people over a certain age from driving. For my purposes a self driving car could be useful; my current vehicle is a 2008 Odyssey as I have a couple of Newfs(Newfoundland dogs for non-dog people) I take to dog shows. I need the capacity for the dogs, crates and related equipment. With a self-driving or shared vehicle I could use that vehicle for short trips-grocery shopping, etc.-and leave the van in the garage until I needed it to transport myself and the critters-saving on gas and wear and tear on the van. In theory, a good deal for me.

  • avatar
    fiasco

    Given the typical driving I see on my 50ish mile round-trip commute, I welcome some robot overlords taking over a portion of the driving. Maybe the knuckle-head in the Accord who gave me the double flip because HER lane ended and I was in WELL in front of her in my car (towing small trailer, so I don’t have to buy a Ferd EFFtreefiddy truck) and she had to yield to me even though she gained a dozen places in the 10 under the limit queue will then watch Ellen or Judge Judy while Google gets them home. Or maybe I’ll have upgraded to a commuter that will let me listen to the Grassroots Motorsports podcasts without seventeen adapters by then.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Could I send an email to my car and tell it go pick up my groceries that I ordered online? Then I’m all for it.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    More autonomous car propaganda. Cars won’t be shared in households. Autonomous vehicles will revolutionize public transportation first.

    For example my wife and I work about 20-30 miles from home in opposite directions. I do have to get to work in about an hour before she does, but between lunch and the traffic coming home it wouldn’t work. However there are several folks who live in my neighborhood who also work at my job. We could all ride in together. Similarly I go to the gym on my lunch break… a lot of coworkers do that too. A gym shuttle (or three) would enable folks not to waste all the gas from individual trips. Etc. Wifey and I went out with some friends last night. Obv biggie would be being able to go out and drink freely. Etc. etc. But I don’t see a family being able to share a car unless they are always going to the same place.

    I DO think autonomous cars will change car ownership drastically, enabling either manufacturers or entrepreneurs to move to a per mile cost basis. I would gladly sell my Civic and buy something a lot more fun if I could just do a daily rental for an autonomous commuter for the same cost. This would free up a lot of space wasted on parking as well. There are just so many upsides I see, but the analysis has to be done the right way.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Can you imagine the number of people who – for a while – will send their cars out do drive themselves around doing useless things (games, errands, etc)???

      I share vehicles at work. I think I’ll still want to own my vehicle(s). Too many of my fellow employees don’t take care of the vehicles – either b/c they are rough with them or b/c they don’t do anything but the minimum cleaning. A couple of my closest coworkers drive rolling trash cans and thus see a clean vehicle as a waste of time.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      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.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      clivesl

      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.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

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

  • avatar
    djoelt1

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      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.

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