Autonomous driving will spur new ‘Passenger Economy’ worth $7 trillion, predicts Intel

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The advent of autonomous cars could see the creation of a ‘Passenger Economy’ worth as much as $7 trillion, according to new research from Intel.

Autonomous technology will drive change across a range of industries and define a new landscape, the first green shoots of which will appear in the business-to-business sector.
— Study co-author Harvey Cohen, president, Strategy Analytics

In its study – Accelerating the Future: The Economic Impact of the Emerging Passenger Economy – researchers predict that as autonomous vehicles become mainstream, the related economic opportunity will grow from $800 billion in 2035 to $7 trillion by 2050.

The study, sponsored by Intel and prepared by Strategy Analytics, found that autonomous driving and smart city technologies will see entire industries being reconfigured and new ones invented.

The authors looked at the economic opportunity from the perspective of both businesses and consumers, starting to build use cases to help decision-makers prepare for the changes autonomous vehicles will bring.

“Autonomous technology will drive change across a range of industries and define a new landscape, the first green shoots of which will appear in the business-to-business sector,” said study co-author Harvey Cohen, president, Strategy Analytics.

“The emergence of pilotless vehicle options will first appear in developed markets and will reinvent the package delivery and long-haul transportation sectors. This will relieve driver shortages around the world and account for two-thirds of initial projected revenues.”

The commercialisation of autonomously-operated vehicles will gain steam by 2040, believe the study authors.

According to their predictions, business use of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) will generate $3 trillion in revenues, accounting for 43% of the total passenger economy.

Consumer use of MaaS is forecast to be slightly higher, accounting for $3.7 trillion in revenues (almost 55% of the total passenger economy).

As driverless vehicle services expand, the authors also expect $200 billion of revenue to come from consumers using new applications and services.

New digital business models ushered in by personal computing, the internet, ubiquitous connectivity and smartphones gave birth to whole new economies. Autonomous driving will do the same.
— Intel press release announcing Passenger Economy research

Recognising the potential safety benefits offered by autonomous vehicles, the study also found that more than half a million lives could be saved between 2035 and 2045, as a result of self-driving vehicles.

During the same period, more than $234 billion could be saved in costs related to traffic accidents, found the authors.

In a boost for productivity, self-driving vehicles are predicted to free up more than 250 million hours of consumers’ commuting time each year in some of the world’s most congested cities.

The study’s authors also discuss the concept of ‘mobility-as-a-perk’. As consumers grow used to mobility-as-a-service, the authors believe that employers, office buildings and apartment complexes will start to offer MaaS as a perk, as a way of providing greater value and distinguishing themselves from competitors.

“Companies should start thinking about their autonomous strategy now,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich.

“Less than a decade ago, no one was talking about the potential of a soon-to-emerge app or sharing economy because no one saw it coming.

“This is why we started the conversation around the Passenger Economy early, to wake people up to the opportunity streams that will emerge when cars become the most powerful mobile data generating devices we use and people swap driving for riding.”