(Source: Getty Images)
A recent study expects big things from autonomous vehicles and related technology, including record-setting revenue

Silicon Valley and the global auto industry are rapidly working towards self-driving vehicles and connected cars packed with wireless connectivity. 

The new report from McKinsey & Company anticipates billions of dollars per year in revenue stemming from mobile Internet services and related products.  These solutions are designed to connect to smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices - and connect to in-car infotainment systems.

Accidents are expected to drop as more autonomous vehicles hit the road [Image Source: County-Legal]

If owners of autonomous vehicles save up to 50 minutes per day because cars are able to drive themselves, and they spend half that time browsing the Internet – it could generate up to $140 billion based on digital revenue. 

There also could be almost $200 billion per year in savings related to a potential 90 percent reduction in US vehicle crashes, according to the study. 

Autonomous vehicles are gaining a lot of attention from tech companies and automakers [Image Source: Volvo]

However, the estimates could be far away from reality, though the glass could still be half full.  Here is what Greg Sterling, VP of Strategy Insights at the Local Search Association, said regarding the McKinsey report

While these figures are highly speculative and probably inaccurate, the idea that people would spend more time online in self-driving vehicles is accurate.  Most of that time would probably be spent on smartphones or tablets, although there could ultimately be embedded screens in these cars.

Autonomous vehicle research is booming, with Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Saab, Volkswagen, Ford, Tesla, and other major auto makers want to implement fully autonomous vehicles

The Google self-driving car shows great long-term potential [Image Source: Google]

Meanwhile, tech companies such as Google and Apple want to see increased technology used to make autonomous vehicles on the open roads a reality.  Google self-driving vehicles have logged almost 700,000 miles and there has been only one traffic incident, which was caused by a driver from a different vehicle.

Self-driving development is advancing, but there are a number of hurdles that must be addressed before widespread adoption.  The legality of autonomous vehicles remains rather complicated, so it will be up to automakers to prove to regulators that self-driving cars can navigate roads and highways while not posing public safety risks.

Local, state and federal laws will have to be altered to embrace self-driving vehicles, while the US Department of Transportation (DOT) conducting research.

The shift towards self-driving cars is expected to accelerate after 2025, but companies will continue to promote technological breakthroughs over the next decade.  There could be around 54 million autonomous vehicles being used across the world by 2035, according to estimates from the HIS global analyst firm.

There will also need to be enhanced cybersecurity standards implemented, locking cybercriminals out of autonomous driving technology – and to keep personal data safe.

Even with numerous possible issues, the tremendous interest in self-driving cars will generate interest in automakers – and potential car owners want to hear more about what they can expect in the years ahead.

Sources: Reuters, Hot Hardware

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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