Industries’ Response to Driverless Cars

I continue to be fascinated by various industries’ response to driverless cars. Reactions range from “They’re coming soon – we need to adjust our business model now” to “Don’t be fooled – they aren’t coming any time soon!” The media often focuses on how people will respond to them (i.e., would they be willing to get into driverless cars), but how about other interesting responses?  Here are a few that I’ve found:

  • Industry groups: A group of organizations representing California automobile, business, technology, and consumer industry groups wrote a letter to the California Department of Motor Vehicles expressing their disappointment over the most recent regulatory guidance. They believe the draft regulations would “eliminate the vast majority of benefits associated with autonomous vehicle development.” I was impressed at how eloquently and strongly this letter pushes back on the DMV’s recent actions.
  • Auto Manufacturers:
    • GM partnered with Lyft to develop an on-demand network of self-driving cars. GM also partnered with Turo, a car sharing company. (source) Ford partnered with GetAround, a car sharing company. (source) They’ve also partnered with Bridj and Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to pilot on-demand shuttle service.
    • Porsche and Lamborghini are not interested in developing driverless cars. Porsche CEO Oliver Blume stated “One wants to drive a Porsche by oneself.”
    • Nissan is not investing in the car sharing industry. Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn stated “…which is going to lead to the personalization of the space inside the car… If you’re in a place which is like your office or like your room, you’re less likely to share it.” (source)
  • State Governments: Six states have developed testing regulations for driverless cars while many others have tried to pass legislation or avoided passing legislation in order to attract technology developers to the state.
  • City Governments: In a study released last month, the National League of Cities found that only 6% of cities’ current long-term transportation plans consider the potential effects of driverless car technology.
  • Insurance Industry: “During investor presentations, some have said they’ll rely on homeowners’ policies and other types of coverage should the auto premiums shrink.” (source). According to a 2015 KPMG survey, most senior insurance executives believe that any change will happen far in the future, or not at all, according to the survey. Almost one-third (32%) say the companies they work for have “done nothing” to prepare for the advent of driverless cars. In addition, 23% say they have little or no understanding of driverless cars and only 6% say they have an operational plan to deal with “the end of auto insurance.” (source)

I’m sure this list could go on and on, but I’ll stop there… Clearly, we’re in a transition period as organizations learn and adjust to this disruptive technology. I’m curious how a comparable blog post could look in 2 years. We shall see!

And thank you for everyone’s excitement around my recent Ted Talk. I’ll post the video as soon as it’s available!

About Lauren Isaac

Lauren Isaac is the Director of Business Initiatives for the North American operation of EasyMile. Easymile provides electric, driverless shuttles that are designed to cover short distances in multi-use environments. Prior to working at EasyMile, Lauren worked at WSP where she was involved in various projects involving advanced technologies that can improve mobility in cities. Lauren wrote a guide titled “Driving Towards Driverless: A Guide for Government Agencies” regarding how local and regional governments should respond to autonomous vehicles in the short, medium, and long term. In addition, Lauren maintains the blog, “Driving Towards Driverless”, and has presented on this topic at more than 75 industry conferences. She recently did a TEDx Talk, and has been published in Forbes and the Chicago Tribune among other publications.
This entry was posted in Related Industries and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Industries’ Response to Driverless Cars

  1. alexa al says:

    very nice post


  2. eyetex says:

    We are looking to launch these driverless cars soon!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s