With a self driving car, what will you do with that extra time and money? Plan now, they arrive in 2–3 years.
The average American commuter spends 50 minutes a day going to work and back. With self driving cars emerging in just 2–3 years, what will you do with your reclaimed time?
Me? I sometimes take an Uber or Lyft to downtown SF from Silicon Valley, traffic is gnarly, parking is frustrating and expensive. I use this downtime to: catch up on emails, listen to audiobooks/music and relax or take a nap — it’s already like a self driving car.
I live on the Peninsula near Facebook/Box/Oracle. My Uber or Lyft costs to 1 Market in SF which is 24 miles away, is $42–100 depending on time of day or type of ride, one way. I don’t have to pay $25 parking, gas or wear or tear (which is $13.20, calculated on 55 cents per mile write off per us tax code, a total of $38.20) so my actual cost is a mere $4 if I take the least expensive ride.
Once self-driving Uber’s and Lyft’s emerge (Uber just agreed to buy 24,000 Self driving Volvo’s) the cost of my ride will plummet as there’s no human, it’s possible the overall economics would be a net positive.
Some economic models (link in comments) predict that the cost of a self driving ride as a service could be as low as 35 cents a mile. Which mean my ride would go from $42 with a human driver, down to $8.20 one way, which is still tax deductible. That’s cheaper than parking at Caltrain and taking the train in, which would also take longer, and still require a transfer, you’ll be lucky to get a seat, during rush hour.
Of course there are significant impacts, as the most common job code in most American states is “professional driver” we will need to offer either updated skills and roles for them, or switch to an economic model that enables care for all. It’s worth noting most of these vehicles will be electric, reducing emissions.
My prediction: some rides will eventually be free as unit economics drop, in exchange for advertising, marketing or even data provided. Marketers will pay top dollar for a truly captive audience.
Photos: Volvo self driving car recliner, Mercedes seats face each other, BMW (Bronze sedan) which I’ve seen and touched multiple times.