A fully driverless version of this Waymo Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid could soon be a common sight.
Both Daimler and Ford plan to have their first fully driverless cars in production by 2025, far sooner than many might have expected just a few years ago. Meanwhile, after a slow start, a new generation of longer range, more affordable battery-cars are just starting to come to market.
By pairing those two technologies, automakers and ride-sharing companies could radically transform the way Americans travel, predicts a new study by the Boston Consulting Group. It predicts that fully a quarter of the miles Americans clock on the road will, by 2025, be driven inside fully driverless battery vehicles operated by ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft.
“When you take shared vehicles, electrified powertrains suddenly make sense, and it becomes even more practical at this level of autonomy,” said Justin Rose, one of the Chicago-based co-authors of the new BCG study.
The consulting firm isn’t the first to predict a bright future for autonomous vehicles operated by ride-sharing services. Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber, has long argued that driverless vehicles will lower the cost of his service to the point it will be cheaper than owning a car. Lyft co-CEO John Zimmerman last year forecast privately owned vehicles will all but vanish from major urban centers within a decade.