So what does this world look like?  This world of driverless cars?  Recently we told you about the Google hands-free auto technology, but Google isn’t the only company working on this.  Insurance Journal posted the results of a study conducted by KPMG and the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) that reviewed the status of self-driving cars.

I love imagining life with no driving.  You see, I hate driving.  I have never been a big car guy.  My favorite times are when my car is parked and I’m on foot.  So it’s only natural that I love imagining what life is like when we just ride in cars, rather than drive them.

As we mentioned in the precious article, it’s easy to imagine cars becoming an extension of our living rooms.  All the conveniences, etc.  An iPad here, a big screen there…well you get the idea, but what else does a world without drivers look like?

Here’s what the KPMG and CAR study revealed:
1.    A car’s total weight is reduced, because reinforced steel is no longer necessary, as the frequency of accidents is next to zero.  This means better gas mileage and lower costs.

2.    Automated cars would drive closer together, so this means that over time that shoulders and guardrails could be eliminated, which would make roads smaller.  This would reduce road construction costs.

3.    Many stop lights would be eliminated reducing energy costs. 

4.    If there are fewer stop lights, it would make sense that there would also be fewer warning signs, yield signs, etc.  This would reduce the costs of signs.

5.    Theoretically there would be no accidents.  I don’t believe this to be the case, as the unexpected does happen.  But it does mean that there would be many fewer accidents, which means the end of, or drastic reduction of car insurance.  From a marketing standpoint this is fascinating to me, because auto insurance is the entre’ for most personal line insurers. It’s the first line to selling other insurance products.  Imagine yourself, in the board room of Geico, for instance.  What does Geico look like in 2025 if auto insurance is barely a ripple in the insurance game?  Fun to contemplate.

6.    Hospitals would not be caring for the two million people who are treated in ER’s nationwide as the result of auto accidents.

7.    Local governments would have to adjust for the lack of driver related fines, such as speeding ticket fines, etc.

8.    Auto repair shops would eventually go out of business or become something else.

9.    These new, less complicated, easier to construct cars would invite other manufacturers into the marketplace.

And, this last point brings up another.  How anxious are manufacturers to roll this technology out?  Will patent control (see apple in the computer industry) be the profit center?  How do car dealerships of the future look?  Body shops will be gone.

So many unanswered, but fun to contemplate questions.