Tens of billions of dollars have been invested in autonomous taxis pursuing a disruptive business model that envisions removing the flawed human driver and replacing him with a robot that never sleeps, texts or drinks too much.
The market impact of autonomous cars has been forecast to explode in a little more than a decade. One study, commissioned by Intel, expects the market to be $7 trillion by 2050. Today, the entire market for new vehicle sales is around $2 trillion a year.
So much of the heat around autonomous vehicles is built around the idea that these robot taxis will replace our personally owned vehicles. And that we will give up our cars because robot taxis will be safer — but more importantly — cheaper.
Indeed, one of the implications of Uber and its IPO of last week was that the ride-hailing service will become profitable once you remove the drivers from the equation…