This Technology Will Upend the Entire Automotive Industry

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Self-driving technology is about to completely upend the global automotive industry, which shipped 73.9 million vehicles in 2015.

That represents a more than $2 trillion market. And that’s just the beginning…

As you can see in the chart below, the $2 trillion market for vehicles is multiples larger than the consumer market for televisions, personal computers, or smartphones…

Now, you might think that self-driving cars won’t be here until far off in the future. I wouldn’t blame you, either. In a Wall Street Journal article I read recently, a professor from Duke University stated, “We’re a good 15 to 20 years out from [self-driving cars]…”

I’ve also heard similar comments at industry conferences that I’ve attended from executives who work for the “old school” automotive companies.

But you may be surprised to hear that the technology is actually available today, in production, and being used by tens of thousands of people.

Around where I live, in Silicon Valley, I typically see one or two of these vehicles driving around every single day. Yes, cars without a driver in the front seat. Every day.

These vehicles are produced by Alphabet (GOOGL), the parent company of Google. They are used to shuttle employees around, and they need no driver at all – just room for two or three people to sit in the back of the car.

Very few people understand how quickly this autonomous-driving technology is advancing. It will come as quite a surprise to most to see a fully autonomous passenger car on the market – in 2017. But it’s the reality.

The innovation that has taken place in semiconductors, specifically graphics processing units (or “GPUs”), is responsible for this truly exponential development. GPUs can use radar, cameras, and sensors to detect objects and safely navigate around them – something that was not possible before.

Last year was also a record year for funding early stage technology companies primarily focused on self-driving vehicles and related systems. In 2016, 87 deals took place at a value of more than $1 billion.

On top of that, the U.S. House of Representatives just passed the SELF DRIVE Act on Wednesday. The legislation supports the deployment of driverless vehicles and, at the same time, blocks states from preventingthese deployments. Given the pace of the progress, it is entirely possible that the bill could become law before the end of the year.

This is such an exciting time. Every month that passes brings major improvements in autonomous technology, more data, and more proof that the technology is already several times safer than human drivers.

And the impact that autonomous technology will have on our society is remarkable. Once self-driving vehicles become the new norm, it is projected that…

•   1.2 million lives could be saved every year due to a massive reduction in traffic accidents caused by driver error
•   Car ownership is set to fall dramatically, potentially to a level where there is only one car per every 12 people
•   Auto insurance could decrease by at least 60%
•   Lower fuel consumption could result in a 90% decrease in emissions

In total, it is estimated that the adoption of autonomous cars will save $1.3 trillion. The savings will be driven by productivity gains, fuel savings, and accident avoidance.

With such a strong tailwind, it is likely that children born during the next 10 years will never need to learn to drive a car.

We are now at the very beginning of this explosive trend, but the potential is enormous… The self-driving vehicle technology market is forecast at $87 billion by 2030.

Fully self-driving cars are on the verge of mass adoption. Not 10 years from now – right now. In 2017.

So get ready… The future is here.