Driverless tech will push consumers to abandon vehicle ownership: report

Fully driverless technology will spark a transformation of personal mobility, enabling consumers to abandon costly vehicle ownership and summon shared vehicles when needed.

The Volkswagen Sedric

The Volkswagen Sedric

Interior of the Volkswagen Sedric

Interior of the Volkswagen Sedric

Analyst firm ABI Research predicts that this will transform the vehicle interior, which car manufacturers will design to be reconfigurable per the individual needs and preferences of whoever is using the vehicle at the time.

“Car OEMs and other automotive newcomers have been imagining the interior of the driverless vehicle for some time, usually focusing on the fact that fully autonomous operation will do away with all of the usual driver distraction concerns and enable the occupant to fully engage in other tasks,” said James Hodgson, industry analyst at ABI Research.

“But they now must consider how they can deliver a personalized in-vehicle experience for consumers who will not own the vehicles that they are using.”

ABI Research forecasts that there will be more than 11 million shared driverless vehicles operating on the roads globally by 2030, serving an average of 64 users per shared driverless vehicle. Each vehicle will have its own requirements for the shared third space.

Recent concept cars, including the Volkswagen I.D. Buzz, the Rinspeed Oasis, and the Chrysler Portal, all featured physically and digitally reconfigurable interiors, allowing passengers to adapt them to support different use cases, such as the Car as a Living Space or the Car as an Office.

Furthermore, Harman’s recently announced Ignite Platform identifies personalization as one of the key elements of connected vehicle management.

“The Volkswagen Sedric, demoed at the Geneva Auto Show, is the first example of an OEM car concept that features none of the conventional vehicle controls, and is not at all representative of the conventional driving experience,” said Hodgson.

“Delivering a seamless mobility service, with an adaptable interior space that can accommodate the consumer’s unique needs, tastes, and preferences will increasingly become the objective of OEMs as they transition from car sellers to service providers.”

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