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Watch: 60 seconds with Katherine Davidson on self-driving cars

Katherine Davidson discusses the benefits of autonomous cars and some of the challenges this nascent market faces.

05/01/2014

Katherine Davidson

Global Sector Specialist - Autos

There is little doubt we will see driverless cars on our roads in our lifetimes. Most of the necessary technology already exists and carmakers have suggested that a reasonable timeframe should be around 2020. Google have recently launched a prototype and closer to home, Milton Keynes will be putting driverless “pods” on their roads in 2015.

The benefits could be huge, especially when it comes to safety. More than 70% of accidents are caused solely by driver error and it is a factor in more than 90% of accidents.

There will also be efficiency benefits: driverless cars can drive closer together and more smoothly, reducing fuel consumption and traffic jams. And if you do get stuck in traffic, you can catch up on work or grab a power nap.  

However, there are still technological barriers. There’s the artificial intelligence required for your car to make decisions, and fail-safes in the case of a malfunction. There are also issues around liability and regulations.

And then there’s customer acceptance. Would you be prepared to give up driving your sports car? Or let your car take your children to school on their own? And if it cost you thousands of pounds extra, would you pay for the privilege?  

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The views and opinions contained herein are those of Schroders’ investment teams and/or Economics Group, and do not necessarily represent Schroder Investment Management North America Inc.’s house views. These views are subject to change. This information is intended to be for information purposes only and it is not intended as promotional material in any respect.