Driverless technology gets a £500 million boost

Waymo driverless vehicle Firefly 1

In this week’s budget, Philip Hammond, UK Chancellor has announced a £500 boost for electric and driverless cars and plans to slash red tape for tech firms testing driverless vehicles on UK roads by 2021.

More than a million people will need to be retrained due to the advent of driverless cars, said the Chancellor. He claims that the new technology will transform UK productivity but also be very challenging for some people.

Mr Hammond told the BBC Today programme: “It will happen, I can promise you. It is happening already … It is going to revolutionise our lives, it is going to revolutionise the way we work. And for some people this will be very challenging.”

Driverless technology is expected to be worth £900 billion globally by 2025. Despite not having been in one, Mr Hammond wants driverless vehicles on UK roads by 2021.

Jaguar Land Rover have been testing driverless cars in Coventry on public roads with a driver in the front seat. This is thought to be the first trial of its kind with a UK built car.

Jaguar Land Rover test vehicle in Coventry

Jaguar Land Rover test vehicle in Coventry

A French Manufacturer, Navya, has unveiled a taxi with no driving seat, steering wheel or brakes that can be used by a human.

Meanwhile this month, on the streets of Phoenix, Arizona, Waymo have been testing fully automated driverless taxis. Residents will be able to hail one of these taxis using a Waymo app.

Some motoring commentators think it very unlikely that we will see driverless cars on our roads by 2021. The motor industry view is that the technology is ahead of the legal, insurance and infrastructure framework surrounding it.

There are a lot of questions still left unanswered about driverless technology and electric vehicles but for now here are the top 10 industries to be effected according to CNBC.

  1. Parking – Less parking spaces needed as driverless cars will drop off passengers at their destination and go and park somewhere cheaper or stay on the road if part of a ride-sharing program.
  2. Real Estate – In the short term parking lots could be redeveloped for a profit in city centres but in the long term there could see a shift in values away from cities to suburban areas as a result of easier commuting.
  3. Law Enforcement – Less speeding tickets, drink driving and other traffic violations will reduce the size of police forces and budgets of local authourities.
  4. Insurance – Less accidents means lower premiums and less profits for insurance companies and less staff required to process claims.
  5. Legal Professionals – Less accidents means lower personal injury claims and less work for lawyers.
  6. Hotels – Who needs a hotel when you can sleep in your car while it’s driving you to your destination overnight.
  7. Media, Entertainment and Online Retail – If the average round trip commute of 45 minutes is spent online, watching tv or playing video games this will represent a boost for these industries.
  8. Package and Food Delivery – Good news for companies who will save money with less truck drivers but not good news staff.
  9. Auto Repair – Less accidents equals less vehicle repairs and demand for spare parts.
  10. Auto Manufacturing – Vehicles will have more electronics in them meaning a huge shift in the manufacturing process away from traditional car manufacturers to electronic and software companies.