It’s hard to imagine a change in the car market that could rival the impact of autonomous cars. Not since the first automobiles started replacing horses has there been such a moment in transportation. In an automotive industry overview, Elon Musk recently emphasized the changes coming to the dealership showroom.
There are two big changes that will hit the auto industry in the next two decades, says Musk.
Autonomous cars will be sold at dealerships: These cars have been in testing for years, and it may seem like the numerous safety concerns would keep them from ever being a reality, but Tesla and other companies are getting closer to selling to the public. Tesla will drive an autonomous car from Los Angeles to New York by the end of the year, and other car brands are promising to release autonomous models soon, too.
Google’s Waymo, Ford and General Motors all have plans to release an autonomous car to the public in the next four years. Musk says that it’s important to remember that the shift to autonomous driving won’t happen all at once. At first, only about five percent of cars on the road will be autonomous.
In addition, cars that are still driver operated will feature more assistance options. Tools like the parking assistant will become more standard, and drivers will also have access to drowsiness detectors, blind spot sensors and other resources that make the car more autonomous.
Electric cars will be more accessible: An automotive industry overview reveals that while there are some electric cars on the road, there’s still some work to be done on affordability and engine power. Experts say that as battery prices drop, there will be more electric cars on the road and by 2040 they will account for one-third of the cars on the road. Within eight years, they will be just as affordable as traditional gasoline-powered vehicles.
Musk is careful to note that these predictions relate to vehicle production, and that it will take some time to fully absorb these changes into the cars that are on the road. Expect to wait about 25 years for electric and autonomous cars to make the majority of the cars on the street.
While the changes coming will upend the way drivers interact with their cars, they will also provide life-changing conveniences and overall cost savings. Electric and autonomous driving are both coming soon, and they will make driving safer and easier.