Autonomous driving sector could create new $7trn ‘passenger economy’

2 Jun 2017

Peugeot autonomous car concept shown at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show. Image: VanderWolf Images/Shutterstock

A new report into the potential for the autonomous vehicles sector has predicted that by 2050, a ‘passenger economy’ could develop, worth $7trn.

We’ve heard plenty over the past few years about the ‘sharing economy’ with the growth of companies such as Uber and Airbnb, but, in the decades to come, we will all be talking about a ‘passenger economy’.

That is the opinion of Intel, which has just released a new study looking at the long-term economic effects of a society in which driving is being handed over to autonomous vehicles.

Future Human

It is believed that a new passenger economy will develop, which could be worth as much as $800bn by 2035, and even a staggering $7trn by 2050.

Of that latter number, the area of mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) will dominate, with a value of $3.7trn – or 55pc of the economy – as people ditch their cars in favour of ride-hailing services.

Such a trend was predicted in a report last month, which warned that the US car industry could totally collapse by 2030 if self-driving cars became mainstream.

Meanwhile, business use of MaaS through package delivery and freight delivery will be worth approximately $3trn.

Finally, the remaining $203bn will comprise other uses for autonomous driving, such as hospitality and tourism, with additional options for healthcare and entertainment.

On-board salons?

Some other interesting financial estimates suggest that a fully functional world of autonomous vehicles would save $234bn between 2035 and 2045 in public safety costs related to traffic accidents, saving half a million lives.

With 250m hours of commuting time cut each year as a result, suggestions for advertisers to fill the gap include location-based advertising on the road, custom commuting movies and even on-board beauty salons.

“Companies should start thinking about their autonomous strategy now,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.

“Less than a decade ago, no one was talking about the potential of a soon-to-emerge app or sharing economy because no one saw it coming.”

Peugeot autonomous car concept. Image:  VanderWolf Images/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic