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

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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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!


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