Transport Revolution of the 20’s Might Decrease World Vehicle Fleet by 90%. Winners and Losers
Author: Andrey Kortunov, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council
World transport system is about to face a revolution due to the introduction of self-driving cars (autonomous public and cargo transport vehicles with no driver involved). Wide commercial usage of self-driving cars might start in three or four years, and by the end of 2020’s «computers on wheels» will deprive traditional vehicles like cars, trucks, and busses, of competitive advantage or even push them out of the market in the developed countries.
This revolution will have a number of obviously positive consequences.
Firstly, a dramatic drop in road traffic accidents and deaths connected with them: the current situation in the world on average shows one road traffic accident for every 100,000 operational kilometers; 1.2 mln people die on the world roads annually; in the new transport reality there will be one road traffic accident for every 10 mln operational kilometers, which will decrease death rate by hundred times.
Secondly, essential improvement of the urban environment - owning a personal vehicle will be considered as a hobby or something eccentric, parking and, to a great extent, traffic jam issues will be a thing of the past. People will spend less time riding, this way time being used efficiently for work or rest.
Thirdly, there will be fewer cars - some experts predict decrease in the world vehicle fleet by 90%; markedly improving the ecology, as a consequence, and lowering the noise level (should the electric motor development reach a breakthrough at the same time).
There will be the ones to lose, though. A vast crowd of taxi, truck, and personal drivers and traffic policemen will lose their jobs. World largest auto groups and their affiliates, like insurance companies and petrol stations, will become out of business.
The «great transport revolution» will rise two additional challenges for Russia. World consumption of oil will decrease and the oil prices, including Russian oil, will be decreasing accordingly. Besides, the «computers on wheels» will impose tough requirements to the road quality, and as it is known, roads stay one of the two most pending issues in our country.
Technicians look at data as a driverless pod is tested in Milton Keynes, Britain, October 11, 2016.