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7 ways driverless cars will change your daily life

You want more cash in your pockets? A driverless car could help. (Photo: Fotolia / Nejron Photo)

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Angelo Rychel
Angelo Rychel
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Reducing accidents to zero. Cutting down emissions. Autonomous driving promises significant advantages for our society as a whole. But how will it change YOUR daily life?

Looking ahead 10 or maybe 15 years, driverless cars with level 5 automation could be well established on our roads. But what does this future scenario mean for us? Whilst the media (including 2025AD) often discusses the far-reaching societal impact these vehicles will have, self-driving vehicles will also influence daily life. Here we bring you seven examples of how. 

1. You won’t receive any speeding or parking tickets

If you like putting your foot down, this might come as bad news for you. But for all others, this should be a relief: speeding will become a thing of the past. In a driverless vehicle, you will no longer have to keep an eye out for changing speed limits along your route. Instead, your vehicle will receive the information over the air and adjust its velocity accordingly.

And talking about tickets, with driverless technology, you will never find yourself parked in a prohibited area again. In the future, you will simply exit your car when you want, and let the car carry on to find a parking spot autonomously. Good for you. Bad for traffic wardens.

2. You will have more money in your pocket

It is not only fewer parking fines that will help you save money. Insurance rates will also decrease significantly as car accidents become a rarity. Furthermore, once driverless ride-sharing and mobility flat rates are well established, costs of car maintenance will decline sharply.

Less money to spend on your car, more money for shopping. (Photo: Fotolia / Rawpixel.com)

Even housing prices could drop as autonomous driving frees up enormous areas currently reserved for extra lanes or parking and will make living outside of the city more attractive. This will make it easier to save up for the other things you have had your eye on. Sounds too good to be true? Unfortunately, there is in fact a downside to all this – see next point.

3. You will pay for your vehicle with your data

Your favorite Thai food joint is offering a lunch special – and you are passing by in your driverless car. Chances are, your driverless vehicle will point out this fact to you. With OEMs changing their business models to a form of mobility provider, experts believe you will get the bill in the form of customized advertising and similar means. While many people might find this useful, others will be less inclined to have their mobility behavior analyzed for economic purposes. Although it seems that this topic is less under public scrutiny compared to other challenges (such as the ethical dilemma), this is sure to generate extensive debates in the future.

4. Your car will become your personal assistant

The average car sits idle for 23 hours a day – like a hedgehog during hibernation. That’s partly because working and sleeping take up a great deal of our time. But what if your car became your personal assistant, carrying out tasks while you are busy? For example, instead of waiting for you in the office parking lot while you are at work, it could pick up your dry cleaning or the order you placed at the drugstore. Once that is done, it could chauffeur your kids home from school. Come five o’clock, it would be back at your office to drive you home. Need more fuel? Not your concern. The car could drive to the gas station at night in the middle of the night when there is less traffic on the roads.

5. Your holiday starts the moment you enter your car

Family holidays can be fun. Getting there with your car, less so. You head off at the crack of dawn to avoid congestion – only to end up in a huge traffic jam further down the road! While you become increasingly tired behind the steering wheel, your kids become increasingly bored in the backseat.

This iconic image from 1957 already pictured a family playing a board game in a self-driving car. (Photo: GettyImages)

In your self-driving car, the journey will be something the whole family can look forward to. Instead of cursing at other road users, you will have the option to play a board game with your kids, start reading your new book or watch a movie in your rolling home cinema. Since autonomous vehicles are expected to create a smoother flow of traffic, you may even be able to depart at a more comfortable time of day.  

6. Your car will get repaired over the air

Admittedly, it is not very likely that car repair shops are going to disappear anytime soon. Even if all cars drive autonomously one day, this will not prevent damage from natural factors, such as hail. However, if accidents caused by human error can be greatly reduced, then car body damage will also become increasingly rare. Your vehicle will behave like your smartphone – and receive frequent software updates, bug fixes and additional features over the air.

And this is no distant future vision – it is already happening. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently sent out a recall announcement to Tesla owners. A charger plug needed to be fixed because it had been found to cause fires. Tesla quickly responded and initiated a software update. Problem solved. Of course there will always be cases where a certain vehicle component will have to be replaced manually. But the reliance of a vehicle on proper software is ever-growing. So increasingly, instead of waiting a couple of weeks for a workshop appointment, you will just have to press the “update” button and relax on your couch while your vehicle is being wirelessly repaired.   

7. You won’t need a designated driver anymore

Do you and your friends take turns to drive on a night out? Do you draw lots or play rock-paper-scissors to determine the chosen one? Whatever the mechanism: allocating a designated driver before you go to the pub with your friends could soon be obsolete. Instead, you will be able to rely on a new companion, your driverless car. It doesn’t get drunk, or tired, and will be there when you and your mates call it a night.

Have a drink or two - your car will drive you home. (Photo: Fotolia / Syda Productions)

Especially for people in rural areas with fewer cabs and public transport options, this could be a great improvement in comfort – and safety! In the U.S. alone, someone is injured in a drunk-driving incident every 120 seconds. The festive season is also the time of the year where many people catch up with their buddies. Wouldn’t it be great if we could be sure that everyone gets home safe and sound?

How do you think driverless cars will change YOUR daily life? Did we miss something important on our list? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

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Angelo Rychel
Angelo Rychel
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