Our previous article looked at the key drivers for mass EV adoption in the near future. However one element of this mix is being treated treated separately due to its unusual nature - the advancement of autonomous or driver-less cars. Similar to EV tech, autonomous driving (AD) has been around for a while, however advancement has been at a slower rate. Recently we have begun to see increased progress as companies such as Tesla roll out their EVs with inbuilt AD capabilities.
The Irish Times describes AD levels from 0 (total human control) to 4 (driver-less), with a current level of around 2 for what we see in today's market, including cruise control mechanisms that keep you in your lane on the motorway and for limited periods in consistent conditions.
When the technology advances to a truly driverless state, one new tech industry stands to gain a lot - lift share. Uber and Lyft work by matching a network of drivers with a network of passengers in their area. The major cost in this model is the driver's fee - 75% of the fare. If these companies no longer needed their drivers, costs would shift dramatically from a constant commission to an initial capital outlay and majority revenue once the car has paid for itself.
In addition to price parity and other favourable factors, a key reason for lift share companies to use EVs as the vehicle to implement AD is the low emissions factor. Gaining approval to implement AD will face robust processes from policy makers and proving lower emissions will improve the case.
Uber has already forged EV/AD alliances and launched a beta driverless share-car offering in Pittsburgh PA. With plans to work with numerous manufacturers, it will be primed to take the ultimate advantage as soon as technology allows.