Owning a car, in just a few short decades, could be a lot like owning a horse — mostly for hobbyists and really unnecessary for transportation purposes.
Technologies such as self-driving cars paired with transportation networks such as Uber will pretty much kill the need to own a car in 25 to 30 years, Jamais Cascio, a futurist and senior fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, told Business Insider.
And that will completely change how we think about cars.
“It is going to be a more cultural shift even more than a technological shift because we have this romantic culture around cars and we are going to look back at that in the same kind of wistful way that we looked back at the relationship people had with horses,” Cascio said.
“You will probably have school girls with all kinds of model cars around the room instead of model horses. You will have people who really enjoy personally owned cars, but for the same reason people own horses today. It’s not a utility; it’s something that is a romantic hobby.”
While it may be hard to think of parting with your car right now, the truth is, trading ownership for a service model may actually make more sense in the long-term.
Cascio argues that the traditional car model will become more or less obsolete because self-driving cars are simply more efficient. People will not own cars because it makes more sense for them to use a network of self-driving cars that will show up on demand when needed.
“It may not be the vehicle that brought to you where you are and you may not be in that vehicle later in the day, but transportation is a service that is almost without notice,” he said. “It’s individualized without being individually owned. It’s individual without being personal. It’s no more individual than a sidewalk. Or no more personal than a sidewalk. It’s just a tool.”
In just 15 years, by 2030, the self-driving car market is expected to reach a whopping $87 billion, according to a recent report by Lux Research. That helps explain why, in addition to the tech giants Google and Uber, just about every car manufacturer is working on the technology.
While only a handful of states have passed laws addressing autonomous vehicles on the road, more than 10 states are considering legislation related to self-driving cars.
Cascio, however, said this sort of on-demand service model would most likely be confined to regions such as towns and cities. To travel from region to region, other advanced transportation systems such as high-speed railways will be adopted.