Although we’re likely a decade or two away from every person on the block owning a driverless car, when the time comes we could be saving billions of dollars and spending far less time dealing with auto accidents.
The Wall Street Journal reports that a new study found that widespread use of self-driving cars could eliminate 90% of all auto accidents in the U.S. and decrease the costs related to accident damage and health issues by around $190 billion each year.
The new report from consulting firm McKinsey & Co. predicts that mass adoption of auto-piloted vehicles will likely begin in about 15 years, but initial implementation of the cars could happen as soon as early next decade.
McKinsey’s report – which was complied using interviews with auto industry representatives – estimates that use of autonomous cars could free up 50 minutes per day for average consumers.
Additionally, it predicts that insurance companies will shift their focus from driver risks to technical failures.
The landscape of vehicle ownership will also likely see significant changes by the time self-driving cars dot the roadways. According to the report, a massive shift in the automotive business model will result in consumers favoring a pay-for-use model rather than traditional ownership.
In recent years, tech companies and automakers have stepped up efforts to produce driver-less cars.
Back in December, Google said its first complete self-driving car prototype was ready for road tests.
Before that, in September, Audi received a permit to test its self-driving vehicle on public California roads. The WSJ reports the in January, the company’s Audi A7 sedan completed the longest driver-less journey, traveling from near San Francisco to Las Vegas.
While we continue to wait for mass-marketed autonomous cars, automakers aren’t holding back on their new innovations. Many have already including some of the technologies in cars sold today.
Installations of some safety gear is on the rise, with more new vehicles coming equipped with adaptive cruise control, land departure prevention technology and blind-spot alert capabilities.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates there is a 14% decline in claims in cars with automatic braking, the WSJ reports. And when a crash does occur, the Institute says damage is almost always much lower than in traditional vehicles.
Self-Driving Cars Could Cut Down on Accidents, Study Says [The Wall Street Journal]