The Race For Driverless Cars: The Winners & The Losers

The Race For Driverless Cars: The Winners & The Losers
SHARE
THIS



This article first appeared on The Conversation. And here, Michael Milford, an associate professor at the Queensland University of Technology, and  Jonathan Roberts, a professor in robotics at the Queensland University of Technology, take a look at driverless car phenomenon and what it means for Aussie motorists…

The ridesharing service Uber is pretty close to getting the go-ahead in almost all states and territories in Australia, with Victoria set to follow Queensland in introducing new legislation.

In the short term, Uber has committed to creating tens of thousands of new jobs in Australia. Many thousands of jobs have already been created and your typical Uber driver speaks positively of being empowered in a flexible working arrangement.

But we know Uber has other plans. Like almost all large car and technology corporations such as Toyota, Ford and Google, Uber is investing heavily in self-driving technology. It’s already testing its driverless technology in Pittsburgh, in the US. A rival, nuTonomy, has also started trials of driverless taxis at a Singapore business park.

With drivers contributing a large fraction of operating costs, removing them through automation has an enormous commercial motivation.

If companies solve the technological problems and successfully navigate the government policy landscape, millions of transport-related jobs worldwide are at risk, including Uber and taxi drivers, truck drivers, posties and fast food delivery drivers, just to name a few.

This is just one in a stream of events where technology is changing society. Each of these events has an immediate impact on society.

What if we step back from Uber’s short-term aim and examine who are likely to be the big winners and losers in this technological arms race for driverless cars.

Public vs Private Research

Universities are winners and losers. While the large-scale hiring of researchers from US university Carnegie Mellon to Uber became public in 2015, top researchers, especially young ones, are moving to self-driving car and artificial intelligence (AI) corporates and start-ups.

While in the past universities have performed much of the critical research leading to technological breakthroughs, this is less likely to be true in the age of self-driving cars.

Current autonomous car research is extremely resource intensive. Fleets of development vehicles must be maintained and large teams of engineers must be employed. There are also mind-blowing amounts of data to be stored and processed using massive computer resources.

Some universities have remained connected. For example, Toyota has funded research at the University of Michigan, Stanford and MIT to the tune of almost one hundred million dollars.

But many universities have lost their top talent. A brain drain itself does not have to be a long-term problem, if some of those researchers eventually come back to share their experience or establish collaborative relationships with industry.

However, the stakes are so high and commercially important that meaningful collaboration between corporations and universities is arguably getting rarer in the robotics research area.

It is also a problem if none of the most exciting researchers and teachers are left at universities to educate and inspire the next generation of robotics engineers.

The Car Culture Of The Future

If society transitions successfully to an ownerless car culture where cars are summoned upon demand, there are potential huge environmental benefits.

Properly implemented, self-driving cars will drive in a more fuel or energy efficient manner. Networked car fleets will further reduce energy consumption by reducing traffic congestion.

The biggest potential environmental win is simply from having far fewer cars in existence. It is estimated that you can meet a typical city’s current transport needs with a much smaller fleet of shared pool cars compared to the current privately owned car system.

It is not hard to conclude that if there will be far fewer cars in the future then the world may need fewer car manufacturers or that current car companies will make far fewer cars.

It is quite conceivable that a number of today’s large automotive companies will not exist a decade after self-driving fleet cars dominate the roads.

This may be one of the reasons it seems that every major car maker is racing to develop this new technology. It is simply survival of the fittest.

With fewer people needing to learn to drive, there will be less demand for driving instructors.

The trend in developed countries is that fewer young people are learning to drive. Many simply do not see the point in spending time and money learning to drive when they can simply get out their phone and call an Uber.

This trend is especially true in highly urbanised areas, where ride services are most plentiful and where the cost and hassle of owning a car is often highest.

We The Consumer

As consumers, we are likely to both win and lose. Potential monopolies are a risk; in the US this isn’t currently a problem due to fierce competition between ride sharing companies such as Uber and rival ride-share operatorLyft.

Uber is currently the dominant ride sharing option in Australia so only time will tell whether real competition will occur.

Improving the safety of car occupants and pedestrians is also a potential big win for consumers, especially if better autonomous driving systems can make a dint in the thousand-plus annual fatalities in Australia and the more than a million deaths annually worldwide. If the technology works, reducing fatalities including those caused by drink driving and fatigue, is fantastic for everyone.

Your transport experience itself may or may not improve. One of the big, less glamorous motivating factors around self-driving cars is that we spend a comparable amount of time in our cars as on the internet. The company that gets significant market share in this space may choose to monetise your driving time with ads (something you already experience in some taxis).

Consumers may be faced with the unenvious choice of paying a hefty no ads premium charge fee, or being deluged by ads that they can’t turn off or mute.

When you first get into an autonomous ride-sharing car, who do you think will be in control? Perhaps Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1990 movie Total Recall gives us a glimpse of what the future may hold (language warning).

Please login with linkedin to comment

Blackmores einsights PRIA

Latest News

Clems Syd & Extra GUM Unveil YouTube Digital Stage
  • Media

Clems Syd & Extra GUM Unveil YouTube Digital Stage

YouTube EXTRA Gum has launched EXTRA Support Acts, a program created to support Australia’s up and coming musicians by transforming pre-roll ads on YouTube into a digital support stage. It has been created in partnership with Clemenger BBDO Sydney as creative lead, Universal Music Australia and BRING for talent and music strategy and content, MediaCom and YouTube. The […]

Damien Terakes Joins Havas Media As Client Services Director
  • Advertising
  • Media

Damien Terakes Joins Havas Media As Client Services Director

Havas Media Group has appointed Damien Terakes as client services director. Following multiple new business wins and continued agency growth, the position will see Terakes take on a senior management role across all Havas Media clients in Australia as well as several global accounts. Terakes has built an impressive media career, with more than 30 years’ experience as […]

Cindy Gallop’s Six Principles For Creating Experiences That Connect
  • Marketing

Cindy Gallop’s Six Principles For Creating Experiences That Connect

The inimitable Cindy Gallop returned to Australia this week to give a high-energy, 15-minute presentation at Adobe Symposium on the six key principles for creating experiences that connect.  According to the founder and CEO of MakeLoveNotPorn,  these principles also apply to successful relationships in life as much as business. Without further ado, here they are (in her own words): […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
OMD Australia Tops 2018 RECMA Rankings
  • Media

OMD Australia Tops 2018 RECMA Rankings

OMD Australia has taken the top spot for Australia’s Number 1 media agency in size, according to RECMA’s 2018 ‘Overall Activity Volume Rankings’ report released last week. Additionally, the company was named first in profile classification with a dominant profile for the 3rd consecutive year, along with vitality ranking and structure ranking. Furthermore, OMD Australia was also named […]

Former Google Exec Joins HubSpot As APAC Managing Director
  • Technology

Former Google Exec Joins HubSpot As APAC Managing Director

HubSpot has appointed Ex-Googler Shahid Nizami as MD of the Asia Pacific region. In his new role, Shahid will be responsible for HubSpot’s performance across Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and India and will be based in HubSpot’s Singapore office, working closely with the teams based in both Singapore and Sydney. Before joining HubSpot, Nizami led the […]

Red Agency Bolsters Sydney Team
  • Media

Red Agency Bolsters Sydney Team

Judging by the image, it seems Red Agency may have had no staff whatsoever prior to this hiring spree.

Nine Appoints Editor For 9Honey
  • Media

Nine Appoints Editor For 9Honey

B&T's editor coincidentally spilled honey on his shirt while typing this. And by typing, we mean copy and pasting.

Y&R Sydney Scores Best&Less   
  • Advertising
  • Media

Y&R Sydney Scores Best&Less  

Y&R wins Best&Less amid rumours the clothing shop its changing name to 'Somewhat OK&Reasonably cheap'.

Women In Media Profile: Judy Sahay
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Judy Sahay

B&T's Women in Media profiles are like a wave washing over you. Even more so if an actual wave washes over you.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
How B2B Companies Can Use Their Customer Data More Effectively (And Why They Need To)
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

How B2B Companies Can Use Their Customer Data More Effectively (And Why They Need To)

In this opinion piece, SalesPreso co-founder and CMO Joel Thomson (pictured below) explains how B2B companies can use their data more effectively and deliver a personalised customer experience that matches their B2C counterparts. From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the EU’s recent GDPR legislation, this year has prompted individuals all over the world to consider […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
M&C Saatchi Launches THIS Film Studio
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

M&C Saatchi Launches THIS Film Studio

Not one to rest on its laurels, M&C Saatchi unveils new production studio it hasn't called 'Not One To Rest On Laurels'.

Creative Agency Launches Project Management Tool ‘Hassl’
  • Advertising
  • Technology

Creative Agency Launches Project Management Tool ‘Hassl’

Yesterday at TedX Melbourne the team behind award-winning, Melbourne-based agency Your Creative launched their new tech venture Hassl, the project management platform taking on Trello and the likes. With the belief there was a better design solution to project management, the platform has been developed over the last two years in collaboration with their clients. […]

ABC Axes Tom Ballard’s Tonightly
  • Media

ABC Axes Tom Ballard’s Tonightly

It's one of the ABC's edgier, controversial shows, but Tom Ballard's proven too edgy and controversial for ABC chiefs.

Taboola Strengthens APAC Programmatic Offering With New Partnership
  • Advertising
  • Media

Taboola Strengthens APAC Programmatic Offering With New Partnership

Global discovery platform Taboola has announced a strategic partnership with Wider Planet, Korea’s largest demand-side and data management platform. The partnership builds on Taboola’s programmatic efforts in Asia-Pacific, and will bring together Korea’s largest demand platform for agencies and brands to provide access to Taboola’s global audience through premium publisher placements. The partnership means advertisers […]

The Haus Picks Up Two New Clients
  • Marketing

The Haus Picks Up Two New Clients

The Haus announces two new client wins. Admittedly, not as good as winning three, but far better than losing four.

businessman using tablet PC and information communication technology concept. IoT(Internet of Things). GUI(graphical user interface). paperless office.
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Smartly: The Future Of Martech Is Automated

Automated ad buying platform, Smartly was at the centre of the tech innovation stage at the Online Retailer conference 2018. Smartly head of ANZ Marta Bonzanini (pictured below) discussed the integral role automation plays in the future of marketers and creatives. “If an ad is not performing as well as planned, you probably have some […]

Messenger Launches Video Chat AR Games
  • Technology

Messenger Launches Video Chat AR Games

For the moments when we can’t be together IRL, Messenger video chat helps you connect in real-time with the people you care about most. Chatting face-to-face live makes all the difference when you have exciting news to share, you need a study buddy for a big test, or you simply want to pass the time […]

Sphere Wins Stockdale And Leggo
  • Media

Sphere Wins Stockdale And Leggo

Sphere snares Stockdale & Leggo business, which is a real estate group & not a simmer sauce as first reported on B&T.

Aussie AgTech Start-Up Leads Global Farming Innovation
  • Technology

Aussie AgTech Start-Up Leads Global Farming Innovation

With Aussie farmers facing so many challenges, could the answer be Blockchain technology? Ranking top 10 at this year’s Overseas Talent Entrepreneurial Conference (OTEC), pitching against 32 other start-ups from around the world, Aussie start-up Agunity are leading AgTech innovation. Having won the right to represent Australia during Investible’s nation-wide pitch competition, AgUnity took to […]

Women In Media Profile: Carolyn Bollaci
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Carolyn Bollaci

Facebook's Carolyn Bollaci is the latest to sup at B&T's truth serum we prefer to call our Women in Media profiles.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine