We live in an increasingly automated world. What used to take many physical steps can often be taken care of by a click of a mouse or a swipe of a finger across a screen.
However, there are still many things that require human intervention. For now we still have to drive our cars - but for how long? Lake Effect auto contributor Mark Savage notes that the market is changing quicker than expected. A younger target audience, Savage says, view cars as an appliance. "It does what you want it to do, and now you shouldn't even have to drive it," he says.
If the differences between the 17 million cars made each year in the United States currently rely on performance and handling, what will happen to car companies if the majority of them are autonomous?
Savage foresees a vastly changing car economy approximately ten years down the road: "I think the unintended consequence for the car companies will be we don’t really need so many car companies because there’s going to be no difference in the cars as far as their performance. Engine sizes may still vary, but at some point it may be mandated that we shouldn't be driving anymore."
Car companies have always been dragged along into changing. Gas and emission regulations have brought consumers hybrid cars, and soon the automotive industry will have to adopt the technical strengths that Google, Tesla and other companies are investing in such as computer programming, sensors and high science.
And, many cars are already semi-autonomous, Savage points out. Whether it is turning on lights, lane correction, power steering, etc. - the move to automation is well on its way.
If the technology and infrastructure is improved and cars can read the roads safely, these cars may be on the market sooner than anticipated. "I think it's now two or three years down the road that we're going to start seeing some of these actually for sale," says Savage.