We’ve looked into the crystal ball and seen the future of transport. Here’s what we learned.
Everyone from car giants to Google is putting their money on driverless cars to be the next big thing for transport.
But if we skip forward to 2040, what will they really change about our lives?
Innovation consultancy Fearlessly Frank has seen the future of transport, and this is what you need to know.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be £168,800 richer?
That’s how much the average British car owner spends on their motor over a lifetime.
Given the extortionate cost, it’s no wonder that 18-34 year olds really don’t care about owning cars and six in ten motor bosses think drivers won’t even want to own a car by 2025.
So by the time we reach the year 2040 and we’re all using driverless cars, we’ll have so much more money in our pockets.
No more paying for petrol, MOTs and car repairs.
And in the future, you won’t need to own a driverless car – leave that up to car-sharing schemes.
With studies suggesting you’ll save up to ten times more money by sharing a car than owning one, it just makes so much more financial sense.
The average Brit spends 32 hours a year in traffic jams – that’s more than a day of your life every year spent frustrated, angry, and stressed.
But what if we took Britain’s 31.7 million cars off the road, and replaced them with autonomous vehicles?
Academics think we’ll see a “paradigm shift” in traffic, where driverless cars turn out to be much better at preventing gridlock than us mere humans.
“Our lives will also change with new technology – we might not necessarily need to drive a car to work, and van deliveries may be replaced by something else,” said Franck Mourge, consulting advisor on mobility at Lunilo Strategic Advisors.
“By making fewer journeys, we’ll need fewer cars on the road, and traffic jams will become less common,” he added.
Suddenly traffic hot spots will disappear, the beeping horns of enraged drivers will be silenced, and cities will be (bizarrely) peaceful.
We all know how Uber changed the taxi trade forever.
Now buses and trains are also under threat.
Why spend your morning commute crushed into other people, breathing in unpleasant odours, and paying through the nose for it? And you don’t even get door-to-door service.
Instead, motor companies like Ford will produce fleets of self-driving vehicles for ride-sharing services.
For the price of a tube journey, you’ll be able to sit in a space of your own where you can sleep, play games, call your mum, and do whatever you fancy until you arrive at your destination.
Autonomous vehicles aren’t just going to shake up the transport industry – adapting to a world without cars will solve all our housing worries.
The UK has 11.3 million parking spaces, and in America, car parks make up a third of the space in some cities.
But by 2040 these vast concrete structures will just be valuable plots of land sitting in the middle of our city centres.
Ditching our privately-owned cars and moving to car-sharing will drastically reduce the number of cars on our roads.
Some estimate as many as 11 private cars are taken off the road with every car share.
“When we adopt car sharing, the cars will obviously need to be parked at some point but we will need parking spaces much less,” said Franck Mourge.
So where better to build affordable homes for future generations to live in?
A Seattle skyscraper has already been built with the idea of converting its car park into housing in years to come.
We’ve converted disused warehouses, factories, barns, and churches into houses.
So why not car parks too?
You might think of yourself as a good driver, but unfortunately nine out of ten car crashes are down to human error.
So if we take motorists who drink and drive, make phone calls at the wheel, or who simply don’t pay attention on the road out of the mix, our roads will be a lot safer.
More than 2,500 needless deaths could be avoided by using connected and autonomous vehicles, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
And the £9bn a year which traffic accidents cost the UK can be reinvested where we really need it.
As driverless cars look set to take over our world sooner than we may think, we can only guess at what other innovations the future of transport holds.
“The automotive industry has always been at the cutting edge of invention, and it looks set to continue that tradition in more surprising and thrilling ways than we’ve ever seen,” said Wayne Guthrie, co-founder of Fearlessly Frank.
But for now, if Fearlessly Frank’s predictions about autonomous vehicles are correct, we’ll all be less stressed, wealthier, and safer.
Doesn’t sound too bad a future to us.
Anna joined The Memo as an editorial intern and is now a freelance contributor. She’s already been featured in The Sunday Times & The Telegraph. Watch this space. Follow her on Twitter @annaschav.