Owning a car is a distinctive accomplishment in a person’s life, but due to advances in autonomous technologies and ridesharing programs, the days of owning a car may soon be coming to an end.
Car ownership is a point of pride, but it is also a financially costly aspect of many’s life. While it may be hard to imagine not needing to own your own car, the possibility is very real in the near future. By sheer numbers, owning a car is one of the most costly things that we do throughout our lives. If Americans and others around the world can overcome the hurdle of car ownership pride, the need for owning your own car will slowly disappear. There are obvious negatives, but we can all agree that never dealing with a car salesman ever again is probably the biggest advantage to this system. However, how can America, or any country for that matter, shift away from personal car ownership and into a sustainable ride sharing industry?
Autonomous vehicles not only pose a significant advantage to our safety on the road, but they also eliminate the need for a driver. The start of the autonomous revolution will inevitably begin with car owners flocking to dealerships to buy their “robotic car” that can take them wherever. Discussing the flashy and sometimes luxurious aspects of autonomous car ownership that await us is a popular topic, but what no one seems to be talking about is the fact that autonomous vehicles may spell the end for the family car.
As of current, the greatest example of autonomous ride sharing exists within the realms and reaches of Uber. The company has already debuted autonomous cars for the ride-sharing service in many cities, and they project that by 2021, their entire 1.5 million drivers will be replaced by autonomous vehicles. This is a staggering timeframe for what will perhaps be the ‘autonomous revolution,’ but it is only the beginning.
As autonomous vehicles infiltrate their way into daily life, car manufacturers and safety officials will begin to virtually map out every roadway on the planet – to extreme detail.
By conservative estimates, autonomous vehicles will rule the road by 2040. When autonomous vehicles become the norm, and every vehicle has the ability to be traced accurately, ride sharing will become the most efficient and economical way to transport people. According to estimates from the EPA, a country-wide car sharing network would create jobs, drastically reduce CO2 emissions, and decrease the number of cars on the road.
When we hear the term “ride sharing,” you may think of a time where you had to wait on your Uber driver for just a little too long. Or maybe you’re thinking of that time when you sat in some unknown substance in the back of a taxi. Whatever memory you are now reliving, the experience probably is not one that gives you great hope for a future where we all share cars. Throw out what you think ride sharing is and imagine a future where a car would greet you, autonomously, on time every morning playing your favorite song with a piping cup of coffee ready for you. WIth every car on the roadway interconnected and the lack of a need for human drivers who make endless mistakes, getting to work late can become a thing of the past.
Once you overcome the mental block that is will soon keep you from selling your car and embracing car sharing, the potential experience becomes one full of positives. No car payment, no maintenance costs, ultimately, no hassle. Through efficient engineering and algorithms through a fleet of autonomous vehicles, there would always be a car waiting to take you wherever you need to go. Talk about a shift in the automotive industry.
Now, I speculate that there will always be persons who own cars, and even those who own non-autonomous cars, but it will likely be relegated to the rich, the collectors, or the just plain stubborn. The future of autonomous vehicles may just spell the end to car ownership, and it’s time to start being okay with that.