Imagine a world where your daily commute is a chance to get ahead of the day’s work, do your grocery shopping, binge on your favorite entertainment or catch a few more minutes of sleep. A world where your arrival at work is predictable and safe, no matter how you choose to travel. A world where traffic jams are a thing of the past and moving through your city is a pleasure.
You won’t have to imagine much longer. A world of autonomous cars is around the corner, with the likes of Honda reportedly investing $750 million in Cruise, the self-driving car startup, this year alone. But the question remains: are businesses ready for the seismic shifts that the driverless car revolution will bring?
Level 5 autonomous cars (with no wheel and no pedals) will silently communicate in real time with a city’s infrastructure and with each other, while their relaxed occupants enjoy a range of entertainment services delivered through wireless networks. Smart Cities will also enable the full realization of the long-held vision of firms like Uber and Lyft: transportation delivered by driverless cars with enhanced entertainment experiences throughout the ride.
And all this connectedness will generate masses of data. At levels of autonomy well below level 5, our vehicles will not only receive but also transmit close to 4000 GB of data a day: information about where we’ve been, the routes we’ve taken, the speed we drove, the media we consumed while en route and more. This data will be accessible for auto brands, city governments, mobile providers and their various partners to access and use.
The major challenge facing all of these players now is not consumer acceptance of the technology, nor recognition of its benefits. In fact, according to a study by Deloitte, a full 70% of consumers feel that an established track record of safety would make them more comfortable to ride in an autonomous car.
The challenge is much bigger than that – it’s to find ways to foster trust among consumers that their data will be safely curated and used in ways that truly benefit them and only them. Cracking the complex technology code of the ACE world may yet prove to have been the easy part.
How to win in this new world:
- Get your data ducks in a row. Change is happening sooner than you think. By ensuring your organization is already effectively operationalizing and integrating different customer data sets, you’ll be one step ahead of the game.
- Think outside of the car itself. The benefits of driverless cars are broader than they first appear. A Columbia University study predicts that productivity gains from people working in driverless cars could amount to $422 billion per year. Think about what your consumer will be doing with their leisure time, and what the corresponding opportunities are for your business.
- Start making smart partnerships. Those who partnered with Amazon’s Alexa in its early days are reaping the benefits now. Look to the brands who are driving innovation in the autonomous vehicle space—from legacy automotive brands to mobile and network providers—and ask how your business can partner with them.