21 Apr The Future of the Industry: Infrastructure
Understanding the larger impact self-driving cars is, simply put, the most relevant way for anyone in the automotive retail industry to adapt with the times and gain clarity of an uncertain future. After all, autonomous vehicles will impact the auto retail industry more than any other foreseeable technological advancement. Many researchers have begun to speculate on what modern transportation will look like. We’ve gathered the best of the best to give you a concise picture of the future of roadways.
Fewer cars on the road?
Carlo Ratti, Director at MIT Senseable City Lab predicts that self-driving cars will reduce the number of cars on the roadway by 80%. Granted, there aren’t many researchers making predictions this far ahead, partially because backing data is sparse or theoretical. This statistic must be taken with a grain of salt, but even a reduction of 50% would impact everything about the way we travel. Fewer cars mean shorter travel times, smaller roads, less traffic and more ridesharing. Already studies are showing Millennials are driving less and owning fewer cars. Many argue that this reduction of vehicles will be a positive force for humanity on an almost utopian scale. Although it’s a bit daunting at first, fewer cars can create new opportunities. Infrastructure development, automotive technology, public transportation, and rural transport will all benefit from the impending changes, not to mention the well-being of the average person who sits in traffic on a daily basis. A decrease in cars on the road should also mean an increase in miles driven by the vehicles in use meaning that an 80% decrease in vehicles on the road will not automatically translate to an 80% decrease in required maintenance. Fuel Cells and Electric Motors are another story.
The Rural Opportunity
As a dealership, it can be a little disheartening trying to imagine your place in this future of fewer cars and even less car-owners. Although many of these studies predict a reduction of cars as a whole, there is one thing they do not take into account: rural areas. Those in rural areas are much less likely to have access to ride-sharing services, nor is it practical for them to use them. They consistently have the highest rates of car ownership and use their vehicles for duties far beyond traveling from Point A to Point B. This means car-ownership (autonomous or not) will still need to be available and affordable for far beyond the predicted dates of the self-driving takeover. Keep your eye on manufacturers who are planning for all aspects of the future, not just the urban future. Putting more focus on used vehicles could help bridge this gap as well.
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