The driverless car could ‘disrupt’ business as we know it

When one looks at the word ‘disruption’, it’s best viewed in a Clayton Christensen context; that it does not create vast new markets, but rather that it becomes the foot in the door for existing products and markets to innovate in a way that they couldn’t before. This is the way in which the self-driving car will have an impact on businesses.

Thilo Koslowski, vice president at Gartner, says: “The benefits of self-driving vehicles for individuals and the automotive industry are significant, and range from accident avoidance, to optimised energy and traffic utilisation, to improved emission compliance.”

However, this could also open the gate for “personal delivery services that utilise a consumer’s driverless vehicle to transport packages between two businesses.” Research has been made in the courier drone area, but this could be the next step. But this goes far beyond automotive industry. Some have even likened it to the Internet, which changed business infrastructure and customer service for ever. 

More importantly, self-driving vehicles will enable radically new digital business opportunities, and the potential of fundamental business disruptions from autonomous and driverless vehicles will motivate industry leaders and newcomers to expand research and development activities, and to dramatically advance the progress of the technologies over the next two decades.

It has the potential to completely rebalance the way we build both cities and their suburbs

For example, according to independent researcher and author Venkatesh Rao, the impact pattern will involve neourbanism, public transport and change in ownership models. 

Large strip malls with Bed Bath & Beyond type stores will slowly disappear, replaced by a mix of online shopping and a few wholesale type stores. Driverless cars will become sort of like a last-mile shuttle network from public transit routes to “new suburbia” destinations which will be built around experience consumerism rather than product consumerism.” 

The car hath given to Bed, Bath & Beyond, and the driverless car will take away. Not disruption, but the ordinary circle of life.

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