Autonomous cars could yield major economic benefits image

The automotive industry is constantly evolving and the latest major trend seems to be involving the disappearance of one key element – the driver.

We’re talking here not about science fiction (I, cure Robot and Minority Report spring in mind when it comes to self-driving cars), but science fact – the technology to make cars drive themselves without human intervention is here today. And, while many would simply adopt the new trend, others come and ask – why are self-driving vehicles a major focus?

So, let’s tally a bit the benefits. First and foremost – they would save lives. Not from the beginning, as the technology first needs to prove its reliability, but with 90% of accidents caused by driver error, imagine the decrease in crashes. With each life saved comes additional economic benefits – the US Department of Transportation statistically values a life at $9.2 million. With that figure in mind, if autonomous cars would save in the US alone 30,000 lives each year, the benefit would be worth $276 billion.

Another key aspect of having the computer drive your car is that the time spent behind the wheel becomes free – and that would be a great deal of it, since US drivers traveled between August 2013 and August 2014 an estimated 2.9 trillion miles in their cars. And then the time lost in traffic would be massively decreased – imagine a network of computer driven cars that use the most efficient approach to travel.

Via Forbes