Over the next few years the experience of driving will change beyond recognition because of new technologies.
The roads and highways are going to be a very different place in just a few years. This will occur because technological advances are creating a paradigm shift in automotive technology.
Five Technologies that will Totally Transform your Driving Experience include:
- Self-driving cars or autonomous vehicles. This technology is almost here, Ford (NYSE: F) has plans to produce the first fully autonomous vehicle within five years. Uber subsidiary Otto Motors recently tested a self-driving semi-truck on a busy Interstate highway in Colorado. Self-driving vehicles might reduce the number of accidents, lower insurance rates and eliminate a lot of driving jobs. Other changes might be cheaper delivery services, and a greater availability of short-term rental vehicles and ride-share vehicles, making auto ownership no longer a necessity for many people.
- Lithium-Ion batteries. Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecast that lithium-ion battery powered vehicles might be cheaper to operate than gasoline or diesel powered automobiles within a decade. When that occurs filling stations and possibly the internal combustion itself might become history. Political leaders in Germany and Norway are already toying with the idea of getting rid of fossil-fuel burning vehicles by 2030.
- Transportation apps. Uber and Lyft have already completely disrupted the taxicab industry. They’ve also changed the rental car business by offering a low cost transportation alternative for business travelers. Now these companies are poised to disrupt the delivery market, the courier business, restaurants and retail. By transforming the family minivan into a delivery truck they can even threaten giant delivery services; like UPS (NYSE: UPS) and FedEx (NYSE: FDX). Most disruptive of all, Uber has turned transportation into a commodity that anybody can buy and sell.
- Apps can deliver a wide variety of software that can totally change the driving experience. Beyond Uber there are GPS and map apps to help drivers know where they are going. In a few years there might apps to drive your car for you too. One intriguing possibility would be an Uber autonomous app you could download into your vehicle. The vehicle would drive you to the office then haul passengers to pay for the car while you were at work.
- Wireless technology. The app revolution is made possible by WiFi but so are many other advances. One example of these solutions that is already here is telematics devices that let an insurance companies monitor your driving habits. Such devices allow insurers to charge good drivers less regardless of rates. Future innovations might include remote control apps that allow police to take over your car. For example if you were spotted driving erratically, a 911 dispatcher would just a push a button that would activate an app that would drive your car to the police station.
These technologies are just the tip of the iceberg. Over the next decade driving will undergo the most profound changes we have seen the 1920s.