It seems as though the entire world is looking forward to a time when driverless cars will be the norm rather than a new hi-tech phenomenon. It is the hope of automakers, insurance companies and drivers alike that this technology will lead to safer roadways because a large number of accidents are caused by human error. However, there are other industries that will be impacted by this autonomous technology that perhaps you hadn’t thought about.
If you are looking to study for a lucrative career, you just might want to consider getting your masters in electrical and computer engineering online from a well-respected school like Kettering University. You can make use of the very same kind of technology to do your graduate work online – that would be information technology. Believe it or not, the future of automobiles is totally wrapped up in computer technology. Having said that, you just might be surprised at these industries that will be impacted by autonomous technology.
Perhaps you hadn’t stopped to consider the fact that automobile insurance is a huge industry. There isn’t a state in which it’s legal to drive without insurance, so what will this technology do to the rates we now pay? There are those who believe rates will go down because the roads will be safer. As mentioned above, the majority of accidents are caused by human error, which wouldn’t be an issue in an autonomous vehicle.
Bear in mind that insurance rates are based on the risk an underwriter is asked to cover, so would a safer car be cheaper to insure? Perhaps, but perhaps not! What about all that technology? How expensive would it be to get full coverage on a vehicle with state-of-the-art autonomous technology?
Obviously, autonomous technology would also have a radical impact on the automobile industry as well. Not only would it impact the way in which cars are put into production but it would also impact the way in which vehicles are inspected for quality control. Would a computer test the vehicle or would a driver be in a sampling of vehicles during the actual testing period? That’s certainly food for thought.
Gas and Service Stations
This is a whole topic unto itself! While a ‘driver’ would be in the vehicle and could easily hop out to pump the gas, would there be other services required at service stations as well? Many people are projecting that cars will not only have some level of autonomy in the very near future but most will use hybrid fuel sources as well. Would this necessitate charging stations as well as fuel stations?
Charging stations are already the norm in much of Europe, which appears to be decades ahead of us in the technology of this type, but there will probably come a day when autonomous vehicles are also going to be powered with alternative (and eco-friendly!) fuel.
Taxis, Rideshare and Public Transport
Then there is the transportation industry to consider. How will autonomous vehicles factor into such services as taxis, Uber and even city buses and trains? Would those be autonomous as well? Of course, there will always be a need for an operator in the vehicle, but it’s sort of a scary thought to think of drivers as the ‘backup strategy’ rather than the vehicle’s main operator.
There was a time when this technology was in the realm of sci-fi, but it is soon to be a reality and it is predicted that by the year 2050, most vehicles will be autonomous. For those who currently make a wage working for taxis or rideshares like Uber, job uncertainty is beginning to surface. At the moment, it’s a ‘wait and see’ game they aren’t thrilled about playing.
Corporations like Amazon are already testing drone delivery in various key markets and being met with a great deal of success. While the bulk of orders are still filled via normal delivery services like USPS (United States Postal Service), UPS, FedEx, and other delivery services, there very well may come a time when autonomous vehicles will provide the bulk of local deliveries.
International and cross-country transportation will probably remain the same, but there just might come a time when even trucking companies operate a fleet of driverless trucks. It’s an interesting thought, at the very least.
Then there is the whole concern over the computers that operate autonomous vehicles being hacked. This, in itself, presents a number of concerns. Not only could passenger safety be at stake if someone with nefarious intent took control of the vehicle they are in but would theft be a major issue as well?
Consider just how easy it would be to remotely start a vehicle and ‘drive’ it to an undisclosed location. As a branch of cyber security, there will be a growing demand for techies to tackle growing concerns over just how easy it may be to hack a vehicle.
The Future of the Automobile Industry
While auto manufacturers will be profoundly impacted, the entire industry will be affected. From the companies that manufacture the electronics that will be the core of autonomous vehicles to the production workers who assemble the vehicles, the entire industry will change.
It was only 106 years ago when Henry Ford launched the first assembly line, which reduced the time it took to assemble a vehicle from over 12 hours to just two-and-a-half hours. Can you imagine what he would say if he could see how vehicles are being manufactured today?
As interesting as it all seems, one major takeaway from all this is that many industries will be impacted by autonomous technology in driverless cars. This is the time to get that degree and specialize in a technology that is surely going to be the way of the future. Whether you are into computers or are enthralled with the auto industry, this is a field with a promising future.