Founder of the consulting firm Enterprise Garage, Mario Herger explains why the last driver’s license holder has already been born and how to understand and drive transformational change.
Around 2030, most miles driven will be done by electric robotaxis. Shortly after, manual driving will be prohibited on public roads.
If that sounds impossible or like science-fiction, you may be in for a surprise. In 1900, almost all the transportation needs in cities and villages was done by horse-drawn vehicles; only 13 years later, most of the individual transportation had switched to cars. Hundred years later, we are witnessing the beginning of a new disruption in the car industry. Electric and self-driving vehicles and technologies are being developed by hundreds of companies, many of which are in Silicon Valley.
While during the first automotive revolution, the auto pioneers were mechanics, electricians and metal workers replacing professions such as horse breeders, carriage makers or stable owners, this time computer scientists, roboticists and experts on artificial intelligence are upending that business. When experts from different disciplines are entering your industry, it’s a clear indication that disruption is headed towards you.
Self-driving cars are taking the human driver out of the equation, making driving safer and more productive for passengers. Electric vehicles replace cars fueled with ‘dinosaur juice’, a.k.a. gasoline and Diesel, thus bringing us a cleaner form of mobility. Sharing models will allow us to access mobility as we need, without worrying of owning a car that we must service, find a parking lot, and pay probably ten times the amount for the mile than with a self-driving robotaxi.
Not only will we save money and tens of thousands of lives every year, we will also reduce the number of cars on public roads and change the way cities and communities are designed. We will give urban space back to humans and take it from cars. More people, such as elderly, disabled, and children in rural and urban communities than ever, will have access to cheap and safe individual mobility. For cities, expensive road infrastructure including traffic lights, signs, and garages will be a thing of the past and free up budgets.
The impact of changing mobility will be tremendous on the car industry, cities, and countryside, and on directly and indirectly related industries. Many professions that serve the automobile and its infrastructure will disappear and create many new ones that we cannot imagine today. Who could have imagined that beside better roads and car mechanics, whole industries around travel, restaurant guides, and shopping malls would be created?
If you are a driving school instructor, you may want to reflect on what this means for your business in the future. City administrator may want to rethink public transport and how to grab the opportunity for making cities more livable. Politicians and regulators can use those new technologies to make streets safer, the environment cleaner, and provide access to individual mobility to disadvantaged parts of the society. Business owners may use new experiences in mobility for their customers. Whatever industry you are in today, knowing about the upcoming automotive disruption may prevent you from becoming ‘innovation roadkill’ and make you identify new opportunities.
The last driver’s license holder has already been born. With our love and hate relationship to cars, learning more about this change is important for all of us.