Disruptive innovation can spell the end for companies and even entire industries. Some will see it coming. Others will realise too late. The Automation of vehicles promises a nirvana of travel improvements ranging from safety, travel time reduction, convenience, ride sharing, anxiety reduction, independence for people with disabilities etc. The list of benefits are endless. At the receiving end, many companies will suffer. Some will survive for a while, but when the last human driver leaves our roads, their time will be up.
- Parking stations. Automated cars will drop you off at your meeting (drive away, maybe give some rides to others, pick up the kids from school to drop them home) and return to you when needed. Those big multi story car parks can be sold off and put to other use.
- Seat Belt and Airbag Manufacturers. If there are almost no accidents, we won’t need seat belts or air bags. Who knows they may already have been superseded by some other solution like utility fog or programmable matter.
- Traditional Taxis. Fairly obvious – this is already happening. It’s not the end of paying for a ride, just a shift in who is providing the service. Uber obviously wants to be in that driving seat.
- Short haul Airlines. It’s not the complete death knell but given we expect that automated vehicles will be configurable with a full size bed it changes the game for any journey. You’ll just sleep your way to your destination. It will be cheaper than a flight. Audi agrees. It’s not legal yet, but it will be one day.
- Pit stop road motels. Late night, long ride, tired? No need to stop and pay for a bed. You’ll be travelling in one just as comfortable and much cleaner.
- Car insurers. This is an industry that relies on human error. What happens to them when driver error is no longer a factor? No doubt they’ll find a way to charge us somewhere else :(. Otherwise, good riddance!.
- Private Traffic Enforcement companies… The ones your local council pays to patrol the street side and give you tickets if you are a minute over. Gone. No need to worry about time limits when your car can move itself on the hour.
- Parking Meter companies. We are forced to use parking meters because of competition for car spots in popular areas. As soon as our cars are capable of being elsewhere the competition is gone. Parking meters become obsolete.
- Smash repair shops. On roads with no human drivers and a miniscule % of accidents, many of these will be out of business.
- Tour companies. Will likely converge with Uber-like ride services that also provide contextual travel and guidance in car. You just enjoy your personal chauffeur driven tour that never misses a point of interest.
- Radio stations and car radio manufacturers. Most radio listeners are travelling in-car behind the wheel. When you are removed from the burden of driving you’ll be free to do many different things. Radio station listeners will plummet. As for in car entertainment – this will also change completely.
- Traffic police. No human drivers… No speeding tickets? No road rage? No car theft? Goodbye cops… you can now go do something more useful.
- Learn to drive companies. No need to explain that one!
- Driving licenses and testing. Same.
- Petrol Stations. Clean energyer and vehicle automation means this will change dramatically. Your car will likely find a place to charge when you are doing other things and it does not need to be in the same place we do it now. Perhaps solar paint will trickle charge whilst you drive.
- Local courier companies. How much need for them is there if your car can deliver packages you or pick them up when you’re not using it yourself?
(Any more you can think of, please add in the comments below and I will include them).
Of course, many new businesses will be born – but history has shown us many many times that it is rarely the companies that are disrupted that have made the leap to being the disruptor.