Many people like to debate when driverless cars will be on the road en mass, but not nearly as many are talking about when human-operated cars will be taken off the road en mass.
Veteran executive Bob Lutz made a bold prediction in an article for Automotive News’ “Redesigning the Industry” series, predicting that vehicles that can’t drive themselves will be banned within the next 20 years.
“The vehicles, however, will no longer be driven by humans because in 15 to 20 years — at the latest — human-driven vehicles will be legislated off the highways,” Lutz wrote. “The tipping point will come when 20 to 30 percent of vehicles are fully autonomous. Countries will look at the accident statistics and figure out that human drivers are causing 99.9 percent of the accidents.”
Although Lutz likely is correct that autonomous driving technology will advance to a point where it will be irresponsible to continue to allow people to operate a car, that doesn’t mean that upward of 80 percent of motorists — in Lutz’s hypothetical scenario — would wake up one day to find that they have no legal means of transportation.
“Of course, there will be a transition period,” the 85-year-old said. “Everyone will have five years to get their car off the road or sell it for scrap or trade it on a module.”
Once the time does come for people to relinquish control of their daily commute to our robot overlords, some people admittedly might choose to not replace their vehicle. In addition to automotive technology, the car ownership model is expected to change in the future, as Lutz noted, with ride sharing becoming more common than personal transportation.
Thumbnail photo via Flickr/Scott Smith
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