The ultimate goal of the tech industry is to eliminate routine, turning the human attention away from repetitive tasks, to focus on creative ones.
This isn’t new, History is full of examples of developing tools to help make accomplishing tasks easier, and usually the technological advancement creates new unimagined markets, the invention of the printing press in 1440 is a clear example, while it destroyed one of the oldest crafts (Hand copying books), it created new professions no one imagined were needed, such as journalism, book publishing & distribution.
This is why disruption is important, it is actually a need, introducing new technologies that completely transforms the economy is a sign of the advancement of the human race.
Creating the autonomous vehicle is going to cause social, political, and economic disruptions of massive scales. not all the consequences are clear now, what is clear is that the transportation sector as well as the car manufacturing sector have reached the point of saturation long ago.
Car companies today compete in reducing prices, having a wider distribution network, and joining new markets. the product itself sees no innovation, within the same price range all models across different companies are similar. the same thing happened in the transportation sector, with the exception of ride sharing apps, the whole market competes in reducing profit margins and costs to reduce prices, but no real innovation.
Different players from both sectors (Transportation & Car manufacturing) are now racing to reach the same goal: getting rid of the steering wheel. Startups are emerging, old companies are restructuring, whoever reaches this goal first will not only strike a gold mine, but will change the way humans live forever.
What is clear now is that developing self-driving vehicles will cause these two sectors to merge into one. car companies will no longer sell cars to consumers, nobody will need to own a car, instead people will summon cars using their mobile phones. cars will patrol the streets dropping off one customer to go to another. there are already some estimates that using robot-taxis will be 10x cheaper than owning a car.
Eliminating the human factor will result in safer trips, the rate of accidents is going to drop significantly. this goal alone is enough to encourage people to invest in developing this technology.
The shipping sector is going to be affected as well, with autonomous trucks moving goods 24/7 between countries, shipping costs will drop and goods will reach their destinations faster.
Another thing that is going to change is the absurd notion that every one should have his/her own car. Fewer cars will serve more people, resulting in fewer street congestions, less time on the road and higher productivity.
Transport As A Service (TAAS) is going to be the norm. granted, a lot of people will lose their jobs, mainly drivers as well as people working in the vehicle distribution sector. but new sectors will emerge, new jobs will be created, and people will enjoy less routine and more life.