How Other Industries will be Impacted by Driverless Cars

Traditionally, I write about how the government will be impacted by driverless cars (and what they can do to prepare). The magnitude of the impact of driverless cars on government is pretty significant and it’s certainly a topic that merits significant attention (and a dedicated blog!).  That being said, there are many other industries that will be impacted as well and I felt these were worth mentioning:

  • Car parts suppliers – While vehicles will still require hardware for the vehicles’ frames, it’s likely that cars will be largely technology-driven. Bumpers will have sensors to minimize damage, windows will have “active windows displays”, car entry will occur via biometric vehicle access, etc. (note: none of this is specific to driverless cars)
  • Car dealerships – These dealerships may continue to be able to operate as-is or their sales may drop significantly due to an increase in vehicle sharing and reduced private vehicle ownership.
  • Car repair shops – These maintenance folks will likely need entirely different skillsets (technology-based) to be able to continue operating
  • Driving professions – Drivers in the trucking industry, taxi services, limousine services, and public transportation will not have jobs when their industries transition to driverless vehicles.
  • “Brick and mortar stores” – While people’s product needs remain, their approach to accessing these goods will continue to change drastically. Driverless cars may “fetch” these goods for customers or deliver goods to customers’ homes (similar to Amazon’s model), which means storefronts will need to change their approach to sales: reduce their store’s footprint, add more “pick-up and drop-off” locations, and incorporate loading/unloading and delivery into their business model. Stores may even consider paying to bring shoppers to their stores.
  • Advertising – Our vehicles will be “smart” and will constantly be collecting information about us that advertisers will be able to incorporate into their strategies.
  • Insurance – There is no doubt that the insurance industry will have a major disruption as they navigate liability associated with driverless cars.
  • Data analysis – Driverless cars will greatly increase the amount of data available, which has significant implications for society. Cyber security, data protection (privacy), and data mining will continue to be vital, growing fields.

The details around how much and when these aspects of our society will be impacted is yet to be seen, but I would strongly advise these companies and organizations to start thinking about it now!  What else am I missing?

About Lauren Isaac

I am the Manager of Transportation Sustainability at Parsons Brinckerhoff. Recently, I won the William Barclay Parsons fellowship for my research proposal to study how the United States government should respond to driverless cars. As I'm working on my research, I thought this blog would help to disseminate my findings and provide a forum for feedback.
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6 Responses to How Other Industries will be Impacted by Driverless Cars

  1. David Church says:

    Other industries I have been talking about for years that will also be affected include roadway signing & sign post manufacturers/contractors, pavement marking manufacturers/ contractors, the Dynamic Message Sign industry, sign structure industry (steel sign structures for guide signs), guard rail industry and other industries providing positive guidance or information to the driver via the roadside. I can imagine a day when a lot of these traffic control devices and roadway features are not needed for the daily driving task once the majority of the fleet is converted to autonomous vehicles.

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  2. Steve Abendschein says:

    If the design of the car changes and it becomes comfotable to sleep while your car drives, couldn’t i go to sleep in NYC and wake up in Pittsburgh? Will regional rail, airlines, and hotels suffer?

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  3. Stefan says:

    What about the OEMs itself, Toyota, Daimler, etc. They will definitely be affected by driverless cars, because their core business model (developing, producing and selling cars to customers) is under attack. Driverless cars are an enabler for advanced mobility services, which may decrease the overall need for individuals to own a car and hence sales of OEMs eventually decrease.

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