Study Says 400 Million People Will Use Shared Autonomous Cars by 2030

With so many new alternative transportation options gaining increased popularity lately, the traditional concept of car ownership isn’t as appealing to today’s young commuters as it was to previous generations.

Interest in buying a car among young people is in decline, in large part as a result of the widespread availability of ride-sharing and carsharing services, which are regarded as a more affordable and convenient solution than owning a car. Now, a new study says that the proliferation of the car-sharing economy and advances in autonomous driving technology will lead to a drastic drop in private vehicle ownership in the near future and make car-sharing the primary mode of transportation for a huge chunk of the population.

 

Majority of Cars Will Not Be Owned by Individuals

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A recent study published by technology market intelligence firm ABI Research that focuses on the effect of driverless cars on the auto industry predicts that 400 million people will rely on autonomous vehicles by 2030.

Researchers say that autonomous cars are already disrupting the auto industry and will ultimately make car sharing the main transportation mode in about ten years.

“The new car sharing economy happens in three phases: street rental service, ride sharing service, and robotic service,” says Dominique Bonte, Managing Director and Vice President at ABI Research. “The automotive industry is in the process of merging phases one and two, with robotic service to become the ultimate form of transportation for its availability, convenience, and affordability.”

 

Zipcar and Uber Examples for the First Two Phases

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Bonte states two examples for the first two phases of the new car sharing economy. Car sharing service Zipcar is noted as the perfect example for the street rental service phase, while Uber’s model is represented as an example for the second phase that involves ride sharing services.

As far as the third phase is concerned, Bonte says that it will essentially be a combination of ride-sharing and carsharing services that employ autonomous cars. Researchers predict that about 400 million people will use driverless taxis in 15 years, with individual car ownership slowly becoming a thing of the past.

The main reasons behind the predicted rise of autonomous car ride-sharing and car-sharing, at the expense of privately owned vehicles expectedly have to do with economic benefits.

“Car sharing is successful because the increased efficiency through higher vehicle utilization rates drives down costs, which results in more affordable transportation,” continues Bonte.

“Why go through the expense of purchasing a car, and then regular insurance and maintenance fees, when we can all embrace the new car sharing economy?”

While the number of 400 million people choosing car-sharing as primary mode of transportation in just a decade and a half seems a bit unrealistic, the notion that car ownership will decrease drastically in light of the expected commercial deployment of self-driving cars makes a lot of sense. The only question is when exactly, and how many people will embrace autonomous cars and be ready to give control of their cars to self-driving systems, which is a huge issue at the moment.

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