Autonomous Vehicles May Be the Most Disruptive Innovation in History

Autonomous Vehicle Concept Car

Within the next two decades Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) are set to topple industry giants, disrupt or decimate the 20 primary industries listed below, and potentially disrupt virtually every industry on the planet. None are immune. The trickle-down effect will likely transform nearly every sector of our lives.

  1. As autonomous vehicles significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of car crashes, likely by 80-90%, insurance companies stand to lose business. Insurance companies will also likely shift to covering technology failures instead of individuals.
  2. Significantly reduced car crashes, and the corresponding reduced car crash deaths, lead to reduced direct medical costs and reduced demand for certain healthcare services and products.
  3. With significantly reduced car crashes, lawyers will see their litigation volume cut by up to 35 percent.
  4. Significantly reduced car crashes mean auto repair facilities stand to lose business.
  5. Significantly reduced car crashes mean replacement auto parts manufacturers stand to lose business.
  6. Second tier OEM automotive component suppliers will lose out to new entrants supplying smarter components.
  7. Professional drivers will lose their jobs, up to 1.6 million over-the-road truck drivers; 800,000 delivery drivers; 500,000 school bus drivers; 180,000 taxi drivers; 160,000 Uber and Lyft drivers; and 160,000 transit bus drivers.
  8. Driverless cars will reduce the need for caretakers to transport the elderly, disabled and children.
  9. Motels will lose business as passengers utilize autonomous vehicles as a moving motel, which is much more cost-efficient and convenient than renting a motel room.
  10. Airlines will lose short-haul business as on-demand driverless travel becomes more convenient.
  11. Fast food restaurants will see their sales volume drop as they’ll no longer be needed to double as a rest stop. And autonomous vehicles are less likely to need to stop at freeway off ramp convenience stores.
  12. Easier and faster commutes will drive real estate prices down in dense urban centers.
  13. Road-side advertising will become obsolete as occupants no longer have to watch the road as they travel.
  14. Auto dealerships, already experiencing a decline, will be further disrupted. Personal car ownership will give way to on-demand ride share, and because more efficient vehicle use enabled by driverless cars means households need fewer vehicles. Additionally, increased corporate vehicle purchase, for use in ride-sharing, means less need for retail auto sales outlets.
  15. Banks and finance companies will see a reduction in personal car loans as more people forego purchasing and adopt on-demand ride share.
  16. Every fully autonomous vehicle is based on an EV platform and can automatically locate a charging station. Or will use roads made to charge EVs driving over them. This means oil companies will see reduced fuel sales and reduced need for fueling stations.
  17. Multiple factors will contribute to the reduction in the need for high density parking infrastructure in urban centers and at airports. Autonomous vehicles will drop passengers off at their destination and go find parking elsewhere, or continue on to pick up the next passenger. And self-parking AVs don’t need to open doors when parked, allowing them to occupy parking spaces that are 15 percent tighter. How will lost revenue from reduced usage impact the municipalities that operate parking lots? What will they tax instead to replace that revenue?
  18. Driving schools will disappear.
  19. Legacy taxi companies will disappear.
  20. AVs strictly follow all traffic laws and regulations, so municipalities will see their revenues from traffic tickets, parking tickets and other infractions drop sharply. Revenue from parking meters will drop, too. With four out of every 10 police encounters traffic-related, will police personnel be laid off or redeployed? How will the lost revenue be replaced?

While organizations are generally poor at seeing the precursors to disruption, the widespread, inescapable impact from autonomous vehicles looms large.  This disruption will not sneak up on you, as most do.  You’d have to make a conscious effort not to see it.

Now is the time to think about how autonomous vehicles will affect you and your organization over the next five, ten or twenty years. Even if you’re not in one of the primary industries that AVs are set to directly disrupt, how is your organization’s market and your traditional ways of working with suppliers and customers at risk?

How will you keep pace with and adapt to those changes? How will you seize the opportunities? How will you manage the threats while continuing to deliver value to your stakeholders?

Bob Roitblat
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Bob Roitblat

Bob Roitblat is a Leadership Capabilities Expert and TEDx speaker. He helps organizations ignite creativity, overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities. Bob is also the president of Mainsail Consulting Group, a business-advisory firm. Also connect with Bob on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

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Bob Roitblat
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