Intel sees $7 trillion economy emerging from self-driving vehicles

The self-driving car industry could be worth $7 trillion by 2050, according to a report published by Intel and Strategy Analytics.

The report splits the estimate into three main revenue streams:

  • $3.7 trillion into “consumer mobility-as-a-service”
  • $3 trillion into “business mobility-as-a-service”
  • $200 billion into in-vehicle applications and services

Intel expects car ownership to slowly be phased out and replaced by ride-hailing and sharing services. These services will offer taxis fares at a much lower rate than what is currently achievable, by removing the human behind the wheel.

We are already seeing most of the players in the self-driving car market launch taxi services. Even though automakers have not confirmed it, it seems likely that each car brand will have its own taxi service, potentially forcing Google and Uber to find a significant partnership or build their own cars.

“Companies should start thinking about their autonomous strategy now,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. “Less than a decade ago, no one was talking about the potential of a soon-to-emerge app or sharing economy because no one saw it coming.”

The business mobility-as-a-service is all to do with trucking, especially long-haul shipping. The industry has one of the highest fatality rates in the U.S., with 745 people dying on the road last year. Autonomizing the technology could lead to faster shipping, as software doesn’t need to rest, and a sharp reduction in the amount of deaths.

Billions saved in public safety

The study says that $234 billion could be saved in public safety, as self-driving cars will be far more cautious on the road than human drivers. Once the infrastructure is in place, the cars will also be able to communicate with each other, making it near impossible for self-driving cars to crash.

Intel predicts that the proliferation of self-driving cars will happen in 2035. By then, the industry will already be worth $800 billion and will free up 250 million hours of commuting time per year.

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That commuting time is where the extra $200 billion comes in. Instead of keeping eyes on the road, riders will be able to access the Internet and possibly pay for services, like unlimited Spotify streaming or high definition Netflix viewing.

The foundations for this are in place, but the industry still faces major regulatory scrutiny, a public that is afraid of self-driving tech and becoming more annoyed with companies that swap humans for computers.

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