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It's not a matter of 'if'... it's a matter of 'when.'
Sales of self-driving cars worldwide — including those that require some driver input — will balloon from 230,000 in 2025 to 11.8 million by 2035, a new study from IHS Automotive predicts.
That would result in a cumulative total of 54 million self-driving cars in use around the world by that year, IHS says.
Following Google's lead, today all major automakers are working on self-driving technologies. Who do you think will win that race?
By 2050, IHS predicts, nearly all vehicles — private and commercial — will be self-driving cars (SDCs). As more hit the road, the roads will be safer, it says.
Frankly, that's fine but I'm a bit skeptical. Considering that our cars are the second-biggest investment most of us make after we purchase a home, I'm not sure we're ready to trust technology to take over the task of driving... not entirely.
Some of like driving. I know the cars will be talking with each other... they can detect obstacles in the road ahead, but will they drive around puddles or through them? Will they be able to steer clear of potholes? In New York, the nation's pothole capitol, they'd probably like to know.
Chris Woodyard of USA TODAY reports that about a third of all global SDC sales in 2035 will be in North America. IHS says many cars already have precursor technologies needed for self-driving, such as lane-keeping assist and automated braking.
IHS adds that the first wave of self-driving cars will be limited to capabilities similar to autopilot systems on planes — the cars take over in relatively safe driving conditions, such as open highway.
Later in the 2020s, more sophisticated systems to handle more complex conditions will come to market.
But self-driving cars will come at a steep price adding $7,000 to $10,000 to a car's sticker in 2025, says the study. But then the price premium should steadily drop — to $5,000 in 2030 and about $3,000 in 2035.
Would you pay an additional $7-to-10K for the self-driving option? And, would you use it?