We’ve all heard that self-driving cars are going to be awesome. We even gave you a list of reasons that we couldn’t wait to own a self-driving car of our own. But a new report from The Atlantic shows just how staggering a difference they could make.
Reporting on a research paper by the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm, The Atlantic claims that automated vehicles (AVs) could save up to 300,000 lives per decade, to go along with billions of saved dollars in repairs, medical costs, and time off work for the injured.
“Today, car crashes have an enormous impact on the US economy. For every person killed in a motor-vehicle accident, 8 are hospitalized, and 100 are treated and released from emergency rooms. The overall annual cost of roadway crashes to the US economy was $212 billion in 2012. Taking that year as an example, advanced ADAS and AVs reducing accidents by up to 90 percent would have potentially saved about $190 billion.”
In addition to the savings in booth cost and lives, a self-driving car revolution would lead to much more available time. Since the vehicles drive themselves, the study predicts that they will free up as much as 50 minutes a day for users, who will be able to spend that time doing pretty much anything except stressing out over traffic.
“The time saved by commuters every day might add up globally to a mind-blowing one billion hours…It could also create a large pool of value, potentially generating global digital-media revenues of €5 billion per year [just over $5.6 billion] for every additional minute people spend on the mobile Internet while in a car.”
The report also points out that the entire auto insurance would have to change, switching from insuring against human error and moving to insuring against technical failures in the cars and their software.