By Andrew Birmingham

Driving Into Tomorrow: 10 Predictions For A Connected Future

How quickly the world changes. The shift to autonomous and connected cars is happening at a pace barely imaginable even five years ago. This emerging sector is on track to be a $US144 billion business by the end of the decade, ushering in wholesale changes not only to the automotive sector, but to the very way we live.

Consumers in the developing world say they are the most open to this way of getting from A to B, but already in the West important social changes are starting to emerge. For instance, there are indications that fewer young people are rushing out to get their drivers’ licences than in the past.

Predictions about the size of the autonomous fleet vary wildly, and expectations may well be getting ahead of the industry. While researchers say that as many as a third of all vehicles on the world’s roads could be conditionally autonomous by 2040, a quarter of consumers believe they will be driverless by 2020.

After a year of diving deeply into the world of driverless and connected cars, we have pulled together ten of the more interesting predictions and observations about the age of the Smart Car.

Growing quickly

(1) The global connected car market is expected to reach $US144.95 billion by 2020, growing at a progressive CAGR of more than 32 per cent according to a recent study. (Which-50 January 4, 2017)

Source: Technavio

Disrupting incumbency

(2) The four trends challenging incumbents and shaping the new ecosystem are: electric vehicles, autonomous driving, diverse mobility (lease to rentals and car sharing) and connectivity with media and IoT infrastructure. (Which-50, November 29, 2016)

Source: McKinsey and Company

Installed base

(3) The annual production of self-driving cars will reach 14.5 million in 2025 — up significantly from only a few thousands in 2020 — to give a global installed base of more than 22 million consumer vehicles by 2025. (Which-50 November 25, 2016)

Source: Juniper Research


(4) When it comes to Internet cars and transport, we are all in a hurry. A quarter of consumers think we will be driverless by 2020. (Which-50, November 14, 2016)

Source: Xerox

Wider implications

(5) Autonomous or semi-autonomous cars, connected home devices and sharing economy businesses such as Uber and Airbnb, are reshaping the products offered by insurers. Usage- and behaviour-based pricing are made possible by rich customer data, telematics, and enhanced computing power, while the claims process is being altered by automation, analytics, and consumer preferences — enabling insurers to improve fraud detection, cut loss-adjustment costs, and eliminate many human interactions. (Which-50, September 6, 2016)

Source: McKinsey and Company

Less congestion

(6) The driverless car revolution is revving up, with ten million driverless cars forecast to be on the road by 2020. Driverless vehicles have the potential to reduce the $A16.5 billion that congestion costs the Australian economy each year. There is also the possibility that driverless cars can cut down the 53 minutes a day the average Australian spends commuting. (Which-50, September 3, 2016)

Source: Commbank

Dad, can I borrow the Uber?

(7) The trend in developed countries is that fewer young people are learning to drive. Many simply do not see the point in spending time and money learning to drive when they can simply get out their phone and call an Uber. This trend is especially true in highly urbanised areas, where ride services are most plentiful and where the cost and hassle of owning a car is often highest. (Which-50, August 29, 2016)

Source: The Conversation

Real world deadlines

(8) We should expect to see self-driving cars on our roads within three to five years, with Volvo (2017), Google (between 2017 and 2020) and Mercedes-Benz (2025) expected to pioneer delivery. (Which-50, May 30, 2016)

Source: Accenture

Driving in the dark

(9) By 2040 nearly one in three cars on the world’s roads could be conditionally autonomous. Despite an acceptance by industry leaders of both the scale and velocity of change, “… there is still no integrated perspective on how the industry will look in 10 to 15 years as a result of these trends.” (Which-50, January 16, 2016)

Source: McKinsey and Company

Developing enthusiasm

(10) There is strong interest in and acceptance of the concept of driverless cars around the world, with the developing world more engaged with the concept than the rat-race-addicted West. Indian consumers (85 per cent) and Chinese & consumers (75 per cent) are the most open-minded about the idea. (Which-50 December 3, 2015)

Source: World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group