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The next step in the driverless-car revolution: industrialization

Much has been written about the potential of driverless cars to revolutionize transportation, with many claiming that the revolution will be happening very soon. But there also plenty of naysayers that claim it is all a big hype.

Then there are some calmer, more collected heads out there, who take a more measured approach when it comes to the potential of self-driving cars.

One such expert is Chunka Mui, who wrote an excellent three-part analysis on the future of driverless cars in Forbes Leadership Strategy in November.

“In order for AVs to revolutionize transportation, they must reach a high level of industrialization and adoption. They must enable, as a first step, robust, relatively inexpensive Uber-like services in urban and suburban areas,” he writes. “In the longer term, AVs must be robust enough to allow for personal ownership and challenge the pervasiveness of personally owned, human-driven cars.”

In the series, Mui outlines four categories of hurdles to the industrialization: scaling, trust, market viability and secondary effects.

“It is not enough for developers and manufacturers to believe their AVs are good enough for widespread use, they must convince others,” he writes. “To do so, they must overcome three huge hurdles: independent verification and validation, standardization and regulation, and public acceptance.”

For Mui, the revolutionary potential of driverless cars is clear, but widespread adoption is not near.

“But, don’t mistake a long distance for an unattainable goal. As a close observer, I am enthusiastic (and pleasantly surprised) by the progress that has been made on AV technology,” he writes. “Industrialization is a marathon, not a sprint, however.”

I couldn’t agree more, and I am curious to see how the next leg of the driverless-car marathon will shape up in 2019.

If you would like to learn more, you can read my Ultimate Guide to Self-driving Cars.



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