I have blogged about the new driver-less automated cars before, and how they will dramatically reduce car crashes and fatalities. This future is not far off. The first true self-driving vehicles are expected before the end of the decade. A fleet surpassing 50% of all vehicles on the road could be here within 20 years.
We will be much better off with them for sure! But what I never really considered – until I read a recent article – was the profound effect driver-less cars will have on our economy. That’s what I’ll consider in this blog post.
To recap about driver-less cars, human driven cars will soon be going the way of the horse and buggy. An automated self-driving fleet of vehicles will almost certainly replace the current human-driven one within the next 25 years. The new fleet will have many advantages over the present one, but one of the most notable is that they will hardly ever crash. A study by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) predicts that a self-driving fleet could eliminate 93 percent of crashes attributed to human error. This means, among other things, that we will be able to drink ourselves senseless without worrying about criminal penalties of “driving” drunk.
This crash-less, driver-less new world will have a more profound effect on our economy than almost anything since the personal computer. Many industries that are now dependent on car crashes will either disappear or be decimated. Car insurance? You probably won’t need it, or if you do, it will be very cheap because insurers will not have to worry about crashes. Emergency rooms and trauma treatment facilities will also slim down. Auto sales will plummet because we will not likely “own” our cars. Instead, apps on our smart phone will allow us to flag a nearby self-driving vehicle to our home which will, with the click of a few buttons, deliver us to our destination. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says that if truly functional autonomous car are built, he’ll buy every one of them. This of course would benefit Uber but not the Uber drivers or the taxi industry. The cost of transportation will be a fraction of the cost of what it is now.
Other sectors of the economy that will “suffer” from self-driving cars are: Driving industries (truck drivers, taxis, etc.), car rentals, body shops, towing services, traffic enforcement, lawyers, emergency services of all kinds, court employees.
Because fewer cars will be needed, we will also likely see a decline in other industry sectors such as steel, aluminum, precious metals, oil. The federal, state and municipal bureaucracies that exist to serve the automobile would also likely get smaller.
And central New York car accident lawyers like me will all but disappear. That’s OK with me – I can transition to other lines of law easily. I’ll just take a “crash” course in business law!
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
Central NY Car Accident Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.