Self-Driving Cars Could Drive Billions in Internet Revenue
In January, Nvidia started rolling out some tech that promises to bring the world closer to a future where auto-piloted cars that can see and detect the world around them are a reality. Now, McKinsey & Company is painting a picture of what that world may look like.
McKinsey just released a new study predicting self-driving cars could generate billions of dollars in revenue every year from mobile Internet products and services -- even if occupants only spend some of their free time surfing the Web, according to a Reuters report.
The McKinsey study also predicted that self-driving cars could drive a 90 percent dip in wrecks in the United States. That could lead to a savings of up to $200 billion a year thanks to fewer deaths and injuries, the report suggested.
What’s Driving Revenue?
We caught up with Greg Sterling, vice president of Strategy & Insights at the Local Search Association, to get his thoughts on the study. He said there are likely accuracies and inaccuracies in the findings of the McKinsey report.
“While these figures are highly speculative and probably inaccurate, the idea that people would spend more time online in self-driving vehicles is accurate,” Sterling said. “Most of that time would probably be spent on smartphones or tablets, although there could ultimately be embedded screens in these cars.”
Of course, McKinsey isn’t expecting all of this to happen overnight. The firm doesn’t expect the move toward self-driving cars to hit full stride until 2025, according to the Reuters report. But when it does, it could generate $5.6 billion in digital revenue for each additional minute the riders spend online. That could translate to up to $140 billion if half the expected free time of the riders, about 25 minutes, is spent surfing and shopping online.
Why Self-Driving Cars?
McKinsey is not the only market researcher to predict self-driving cars will take off in a big way. Global analyst firm IHS pushed out a study suggesting these unmanned vehicles will hit highways around the world before 2025. All told, there should be nearly 54 million self-driving cars in use globally by 2035.
In the study, “Emerging Technologies: Autonomous Cars -- Not If, But When,” IHS Automotive forecasts that the total worldwide sales of self-driving cars will grow from nearly 230 thousand in 2025 to 11.8 million in 2035. Of those, 7 million self-driving cars will include both driver control and autonomous control, and the other 4.8 million will use only autonomous self-driving control.
“There are several benefits from self-driving cars to society, drivers and pedestrians,” said Egil Juliussen, principal analyst for infotainment and autonomous driver assisted systems at IHS Automotive. Juliussen co-authored the study with IHS Automotive senior analyst Jeremy Carlson.
“Accident rates will plunge to near zero for SDCs (self-driving cars), although other cars will crash into SDCs, but as the market share of SDCs on the highway grows, overall accident rates will decline steadily,” Juliussen said. “Traffic congestion and air pollution per car should also decline because SDCs can be programmed to be more efficient in their driving patterns.”
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Posted: 2015-03-16 @ 6:15am PT
Self-driving cars sound cool but what if an unexpected situation comes up and the car crashes itself? Would the manufacturer or the driver be at fault? There are some things that people have to do for themselves and driving cars is one of them.
Posted: 2015-03-05 @ 3:17pm PT
Self-driving cars are a great thing, but please keep the greedy self-interest of car makers, telecoms and consultants out of it. I want the freedom to choose who provides internet connectivity to my car and I do not want my car to communicate with the manufacturer or other "partners" without my explicit consent. This is about my safety going from A to B, not about their monetizing of a captive audience like airlines and trains have tried to do. The basic difference: I own the vehicle, not them. Keep it in mind, McGreedies!