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The autonomous vehicle, driverless or self-driving car will be one of the greatest technological developments of the next decade (if not all time).
It will profoundly change life on earth.
For the past century our car-centric culture has shaped infrastructure and ideals, landscape and lifestyle, ethics and enterprise. We rely on the mobility that cars provide us more than ever, but the car’s purpose and meaning changes as the driver fades out.
When the car drives itself, what we do in our cars and with our cars is exponentially different. When the car is intelligent, intuitive and adaptive, our relationship to the car alters. When the car builds itself, environments and economies are reshaped.
This report looks at the players, technologies and trends in the autonomous vehicle space and paints a picture of probable futures for citizens, businesses and marketers.
The autonomous vehicle, driverless or self-driving car will be one of the
greatest technological developments of the next decade (if not all time).
It will profoundly change life on earth.
For the past century our car-centric culture has shaped infrastructure and
ideals, landscape and lifestyle, ethics and enterprise. We rely on the mobility
that cars provide us more than ever, but the car’s purpose and meaning
changes as the driver fades out.
When the car drives itself, what we do in our cars and with our cars is
exponentially diﬀerent. When the car is intelligent, intuitive and
adaptive, our relationship to the car alters. When the car builds itself,
environments and economies are reshaped.
This report looks at the players, technologies and trends in the autonomous
vehicle space and paints a picture of probable futures for citizens,
businesses and marketers.
Buckle up. Bumpy roads ahead.
From Automobiles to Auto Mobility!
Ships have been using “self-steering gear” since the 1950s, while the ﬁrst “autopiloting”
of an airplane occurred in 1914. The “Ottopilot” in the movie Airplane is an apropos
metaphor epitomizing the joys of sitting back and letting the machine do all the work.
Driverless Visions in Low Gear
Since the car was invented automakers have gradually introduced automation - from automatic
shift to adaptive cruise control, self-parking to collision-avoidance, lane-keeping assistance to
brake-assist and traction control. The introduction of new driverless technologies will be a gradual
one, slowly upshifting us into the future.
Science Fiction to Science Fact: Autonomous
Cars Shaped by Hollywood
• Daimler, GM and Ford
expect to release self-
• When several sources
predict autonomous cars
will be standard issue
Blade Runner Minority Report
Back to the
Future Part III
Police can override
The Fifth Element
• Mobileye bolt on hands-
free kit on sale
• GM offering “super
cruise” on Cadillacs
• Google’s driverless car
available to public
• Volvo to start selling
• Nissan to start selling
• Tesla to offer “full
• GM, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Nissan,
BMW and Renault to release semi-
• Volvo will sell “crash-free”
• Jaguar to launch
• Most cars will operate
independent from human
• IEEE estimates that up
to 75% of all vehicles
will be autonomous
• Tesla cars will be 90%
• Audi to start selling low-speed
The oldest and most extensive driverless Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) system has been
operating in Morgantown, West Virginia since 1975. Heathrow Airport has been using PRT vehicles
since 2011. The newest, most modern PRT system launched in Suncheon, South Korea while
Sardinia, Italy launched driverless buses earlier this year.
Today’s Driverless Vehicles Look
Like Props in a 70s SciFi Flick
An entirely new industry of DIY “autonomous driving kits” is being born – loosely inspired by Knight
Rider’s KITT– to turn manual cars into driverless cars. This will make aftermarket upgrades
affordable, such as the $10,000 “bolt-on” driverless system called “Cruise.” Retro and vintage cars
turned driverless give new meaning to “Back to the Future.”
Bolt-On Driverless Systems are
Reminiscent of 80s TV Shows
Auto design is converging with aeronautic design, such as the autonomous “Aeromobil.” Autos
are not only becoming more intelligent, they’re becoming more modular, adaptable and
transmutable. Next: the “auto-mutation” of the autonomous automobile.
Design Seems Inspired by
Transformer Toys and Video Games
Loudest Voices Coming from Auto,
Tech & Academia
Co-Founder of Google &
Leader of Google X
Prof. of Mechanical
CEO of General Motors
CEO & Co-Founder
PayPal & Palantir /
Autonomous Car Inﬂuencers & Champions
CEO of Tesla /
Inventor & Investor
in Disruptive Tech
Elon MuskSergey Brin
Mary Barra Sebastian Thrun
Robots Autonomous Liferaft
Deliver Food to
Volvo European Safe Road Trains
for the Environment Project
NOAA Solar Ocean Explorer
Adjacent Autonomous Driving Devices
Amazon Delivery Drones
TELEPRESENCE UNMANNED TANKS
Advances Across Industries Are
Leapfrogging Driverless Cars
Mobile Weather Data
Local Governments Are Committing
to Driverless Infrastructure…
“An amendment condoned
by The United Nations
Convention on road trafﬁc
will soon allow testing of
autonomous vehicles in the
European Union, Mexico,
Chile and Russia.”Source: Insurance Journal
“Michigan is building
a driverless town for
Autonomous Cars Will Give You
Back > 4 Years Of Your Life
Average time equivalent
9days / year
Average time a person will
spend driving in their lifetime
Average length of commute
to work in the US
The Economist: American Census Bureau
51minutes 15 days / year
Average time equivalent
Moms spend driving kids
around UK Telegraph
You Will Spend More Time Doing the
Things You Love, Not Driving
Have you ever wanted to bill hours
for your commute? This dream
could be reality when your car
becomes a mobile ofﬁce.
Texting / Talking with
Technology, both new and current,
will adapt to social travels.
These respondents listed activities
such as ‘watch the road’ or ‘enjoy
Stuck in trafﬁc? Fire up your car’s
gaming center to play chess or
Words With Friends against your
Cars of the future will undoubtedly
be entertainment hubs, featuring
built in tablets and TVs
Some commuters might consider
planning their lives to get a full 8
hours of sleep during their
Imagine a smart car that
recommends articles or stories
based on the expected travel time.
What Americans Say They
Intend to Do in their
Your Car Will Be The Hub Of Your
Personal Smart Grid
The development of autonomous cars is happening in parallel to the clean energy movement.
We will lose the driver, but we will gain in energy. Morgan Stanley predicts that autonomous
cars will save the United States $1.3 trillion annually by lowering fuel consumption.
Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems
conceptualize how smart cars
could be incorporated into the
extended power grid. Cars of the
future will share, store and
produce our energy.
The Wall Street
Source: Business Insider
You Will Rotate Between
Multiple Mobility Machines
Automakers like Mercedes-Benz are realizing that they don’t just build vehicles but rather enable
mobility, so they are moving into new modes of transportation. People will share multiple
specialized vehicles for varying uses. Utility of design will increase.
You Will Share Your Car(s)
By 2021, Ann Arbor could become the ﬁrst American city with a shared ﬂeet of networked,
driverless Cars. Autonomous cars will be introduced into society through existing ﬂeets: car
shares, taxis, rentals and corporate (e.g., delivery businesses like FedEx, Pizza Hut).
Shared driverless cars could
meet all of Singapore’s
- MIT Research
You Will Build Your Car From the
The future aesthetics and customization of the autonomous car vehicle body will further
accelerate with wide-spread adoption of the skateboard chassis and drive-by-wire system.
The skateboard chassis will house all major car components: propulsion, motors, suspension,
batteries and the drive-by-wire system which controls all vehicle movements electronically.
The vehicle body essentially sits on top of it.
You Will Individualize Your Car
Car bodies will be hyper-customized as they will be 3D printed and ﬁtted atop powertrains.
Every car on the road can and will look different.
Your Car Will Be Bundled With Your House
Autos can be designed to match the environment or architecture. Architectural ﬁrms will start to
design the auto body for a seamless look. Driverless cars will “dock” in the home.
You Will Look Out the Windows
Expect windows and surfaces to become touchscreens, allowing passengers to interact with
surroundings using hand gestures and augmented reality projections. Transportation will play a big
role in education and “MOOCCs” (massive online open car courses).
You Will Entertain in Your Car
Image Source: Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design]
The “driver” role will evolve into a “host” role. Cars will become the new “3rd Place,” replacing
cafes and retail. Car parties will supplant car pools. Auto interiors will look more like rooms than
cockpits. Passengers will sit wherever they like and entirely new industries like “Auto Decor” will
You Will Cook in Your Car
Food services, grocers, QSRs, food brands and kitchen appliances will be designed for in-car use
since time on the road will be spent eating and cooking. The car could literally pick up fresh
ingredients from the source as the meal is being prepared, giving “farm-to-fork” a new meaning.
And Your Car Will be Cooking
In-car entertainment will be expanded. Privacy and constant mobility will make autonomous cars
the ideal space for illicit activities. Expect new, car-based business models in the sex, drug and
alcohol industries. Alas, declining birthrates may reverse as busy professionals use newfound time
to go on “driverless dates.”
You Will Be More Productive
Image Source: Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design]
The autonomous vehicle will increase productivity, especially for people who work from the road
(e.g., real estate, sales). Driverless autos will feature high-speed bandwidth and 2-way live
streaming. The boost in productivity will increase GDP and enable many businesses to adopt 4-
day work weeks.
Boost in annual
You Will Live Longer and Healthier
Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death amongst young people (ages 15-29) and
the #2 cause of death worldwide. In addition to reducing deaths from crashes, driverless cars
will reduce cancer as they decrease anxiety and driving stress. Happiness and well-being
correlate to the length of time spent commuting in trafﬁc.
People die in road
People injured daily in
crashes from distracted
safer than human-
Driverless cars are
Association for Safe International Road Travel
Source: Association for Safe International Road Travel
You Will be Independent Longer
Autonomous cars will offer the elderly independence from caregivers. They will give the aging
population a better quality of life, as well as help them to participate in the workforce longer.
Older adults injured in auto
accidents daily in the US
Your Kids Will be More Independent
Autonomous cars will likely feature “kid mode” for short distances, with limited navigation controls.
Gen Z will grow up adapted to longer trips and distances. Helicopter parents will be replaced by
“Autonomous Parents” who give their kids independence and encourage exploration.
Of the global population is
below the age of 15
We Will See Societal Bifurcation
“Manual” vs. “auto” will replace the “stick” vs. “automatic” debate. While it’s expected that
autonomous cars will not cost much more, driving purists/enthusiasts will buck the trend. They
will ﬂaunt their manual driving and taunt the orderliness of the machines. Roof sensors on
driverless cars will replace the hood ornament’s prestige.
Cost that autonomy will add to
the sticker price of a car in 2025
We Will See Reverse Urbanization
Source: US Census
Increase in America’s urban
Perceptions of distance will change as driverless vehicles will make travel more bearable, if not
enjoyable. Many will view the ease of travel as an invitation to move out of urban centers. We can
expect suburban areas to sprawl out from cities, and rural communities to thrive.
US Census Bureau
We Will Have Fewer Premature Births...
Premature births are linked to auto air pollution; a Columbia University study found a
comparatively sharp drop in premature births around EZPass toll booths, which encourage
smoother trafﬁc ﬂows and lower emissions. Roughly 50% of premature births involve cesarean
sections, recently linked to a baby’s microbial health, affecting overall health.
Rise in premature births in
the US over past 25 years
...But More Substance Abuse
When the designated driver is a car the world’s partiers party harder. Alcohol and drug sales will
likely increase as they can be consumed in the privacy of a moving vehicle. Without a “reason”
to stay sober (i.e., DUI conviction), the legal drinking age will also likely drop.
Increase in DUI deaths in the
US over the past year
National Highway Trafﬁc Safety Administration
There will be less need for road signage, and yet we will be able to travel at higher speeds.
Smoother rides will make it possible for people to do delicate jobs within their car (e.g., surgery,
artwork). Cars will offer different experiences: “get there fast” or “take the scenic route.” Roads
will have more wear-and-tear requiring more maintenance overall.
We Will Have Better Maintained Roads and
If getting to and from places is more seamless and enjoyable, then why ﬂy or bother with trains?
Mass transit will be threatened. In addition, people will take up weekend homes that are 3-6
hours outside of major urban areas and will sleep overnight in their vehicles. Night road trafﬁc will
We Will See Property Values Rebound 3-6
Hours Outside Cities
We Will See a Surge in 3D
Given that autonomous cars can dramatically decrease the number of trafﬁc accidents, one can
expect the availability of organ donations to drop. This in turn will likely fuel advances in 3D printed
biomaterial research. Or, organs (e.g., heart, liver, kidney) will be “grown in a petri dish.”
People receive organ
transplants daily in the US
There are millions of vital people living with disabilities or health problems who
ﬁnd driving too challenging. Autonomous cars will enable people with physical
and mental challenges to participate more fully in society.
We Will Have a More Inclusive Society
Legally blind adults living
National Federation of the Blind
Adults live with epilepsy
World Health Organization
The driver’s license is currently the de facto form of identiﬁcation in an increasingly
security-minded culture. The need for driver’s licenses will drop along with driving
skills. The obsolescence of the driver’s license will jumpstart the widespread use
of other forms of identiﬁcation, such as biometrics and chip implants.
We Will Have New Forms of ID
We Will Enjoy More Public Spaces
In the future there will be no need for parking lots or parking garages in urban areas.
Autonomous cars will be constantly in motion, able to park in extremely tight spaces or drive
themselves outside of city limits to park. This will allow for the repurposing of valuable land,
ideally for parks and event spaces.
Trees could thrive on just 1%
of our paved areas
absorbing 1.2b metric tons
of carbon dioxide
Sources: National Atlas, Grist, FWR, EPA
We Will Have Internet Everywhere
Roads for driverless cars must be built on information highways since autonomous cars rely on
networked data. In order for driverless cars to take off there will need to be ubiquitous hi-speed
wireless broadband access. A race towards Internet everywhere is underway.
Of the US does not have
Towns that rely on speed traps and parking ticket quotas will experience budget shortfalls, so
they will be forced to seek new forms of revenue. This will not only be a catalyst for innovation
but will make constituents less resentful of local government.
We Will Enjoy More Eﬃcient Government
Annual revenue generated in
the US from parking tickets
and speeding citations
Driverless cars will reduce the number of auto accidents and insurance claims, which will in turn
force the insurance industry to explore new models. Many other businesses will be disrupted by
driverless vehicles including: taxis, public transportation, logistics, cargo, delivery services, gas
stations, parking lots and of course auto manufacturing.
We Will Pay Less (or Nothing) for Insurance
Annual cost to Americans
from trafﬁc accidents
Business Implications of Autonomous Cars
Image Source: phantasrail.co.uk
10 Ways Marketing Will be Totally Transformed
1. Out-of-home advertising and billboards will respond and customize to
2. Rush-hour/drive-time radio will adapt or die
3. Entertainment (and ads) will need to be road-ready
4. Content will be designed for Virtual Reality car windows
5. New retail destinations will pop up in unusual, out of the way locations
6. Retail on wheels will explode
7. Products will be introduced just for in-car use (cooking, entertaining,
learning, working, gaming, etc.)
8. Businesses will be launched for the hiding and control of geolocation
9. Social networks will evolve into networks of social roads
10. Brands will sponsor routes and “curated road experiences”
10 Jobs of the Future Created by
1. Ethical Programmer — Will the car be programmed to protect the passenger,
civilians, or the greatest good?
2. Parking Lot Ranger — If parking lots are repurposed as park spaces these new
public spaces will need attending and policing.
3. Liability Data Investigator — Who is at fault in an autonomous accident? The
data will know and special investigators will perform the data forensics.
4. Pave & Paint Pro — Driverless cars rely on high quality roads and clear road
markings, so road maintenance will be an important, highly-paid job.
5. 3D Printer Auto Stylist — People will need assistance with CAD, designing their
custom cars and decorating their interiors.
6. Convoy Party Planner — Specialist planners will be sought to assist with auto
entertaining and long-haul group travel.
7. Anti-Hacking Mechanic — A new ﬁeld of mechanics will emerge to safeguard
data and privacy and thwart auto hacking, which could be deadly.
8. Personal Vehicle Trainer — As obesity rises, the auto becomes a place for
workouts. Trainers will travel with clients to exercise on-the-go.
9. Sensor Technician — All the auto’s sensors will need regular tune-ups and
calibrations handled by sensor specialists.
10. OS Therapist — When the auto is intelligent, its OS may suffer emotionally,
requiring therapy from an AI auto shrink.
Autonomous Car Topics We’re Tracking…
MEDIA & CULTURE
CA, NV, MI,
FL - Driverless
(5G & WiFi)
Radar & Lidar
Sensors Camera &
Apple & Tesla?
EU - Driverless
Want to Apply Autonomous Car Insights
to Your Business?
We will continue to track Autonomous Cars, adding a global
perspective from our Scout Network (now in 11 countries) combined
with international social listening. Stay tuned.
Reach out to us if you want to explore how to apply these learnings —
and future Autonomous Car insights — to your business. We can
package insights in a variety of formats, such as:
• Customized “Autonomous World” reports, designed for sharing and
• Immersive get-smart-fast-on-the-future-of-Driverless-Cars workshops
• Autonomous insights-to-applied-marketing roundtable discussions
• Bi-weekly “Autonomous Trend Pulses” — shareable newsletters on shifting
culture and marketing opportunities
agency of relevance
- Social & Cultural Listening
- Competitive Intelligence & War
- Segment Analysis & Tracking
- Topic Deep Dives
- Event Tracking
- Issue Monitoring
- Real-time Burst Identiﬁcation
- Channel Analysis
- Content & Inﬂuencer Strategy
- Editorial & Cultural Calendars
- Macro Trend Identiﬁcation &
- Projecting Segments into the
Future (Consumers of the Future)
- Product, Service & Packaging
- Business Model Design &
- Business Context Analysis
- Whitespace Identiﬁcation
- Brand/Partner & Acquisition
- Pre-Planned (70/30) Content
Production - Online and Ofﬂine
- Real-Time Content Production
- Real-Time Commerce
- Social Media Content (short and
long form) - posts, tweets, vines,
videos, blogs, etc.
- Community Management
- Inﬂuencer Outreach
- Channel Optimization & Fan Base
- Analytics & Measurement
- Real-Time Media Ampliﬁcation
cultural strategy at the core
Sign up on our website to receive updates and future reports:
For more information:
1. “Leave the driving to…” by GmanViz /
Flickr. Licensed under (CC BY-NC-
ND 2.0). https://
2. e2dan / Shutterstock
3. fongfong / Shutterstock
4. Everett Collection / Shutterstock
5. “Sir Ken Adam: Bond - 007 ‘The Spy
Who Loved Me’ Lotus Esprit Sub
Camera” by C+D / Flickr. Licensed
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under (CC BY-SA 2.0). http://
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“Concept Car Renault Desir” by Dk58
- Renaud / Flickr. Licensed under
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Flickr. Licensed under (CC BY-NC-SA
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11. Slavoljub Pantelic / Shutterstock,
Telepresence robots: Crystal Eye
Studio / Shutterstock, Liferafts:
Mikadun / Shutterstock, Tanks:
mariocigic / Shutterstock, Drones:
riteski goce / Shutterstock, Hospital
bots: VILevi / Shutterstock, Trucking:
IM_Photo / Shutterstock, Telematics:
Edward Haylan / Shutterstock,
Submarines: alvinsevsk29 /
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