Robotic vehicles would add $7 trillion to the global economy, says study

Kramer Phillips By Kramer Phillips | 4 years ago

Google and Uber’s self-driving car ventures may still have some bugs to work out, but analysts at Intel and the research firm Strategy Analytics think that their efforts could be the start of something huge: $7 trillion huge. That’s the sum that the analysts calculate that robotic vehicles could add to the world economy by 2050 as these vehicles eventually account for half or more of all new vehicles sold.

“’Being driven’ by essential, pilotless vehicles will represent the essential nature of future transportation,” their study states.

The U.S. economy alone might gain $2 trillion, the analysts predict. Companies providing the self-driving vehicles will make big revenues. But most other businesses in other sectors will add to the equation, as well: The report states that businesses’ “IT intensity,” which is the amount the spend on information technology, will almost double.

With this increased IT spending will come new IT jobs. All of these vehicles will gather data constantly about their on-board systems, their driving patterns, road and traffic conditions, and other factors. A nascent car-data industry will grow alongside the robotic vehicle production industry just to collect and manage all of the data. The analysts also suggest new jobs might arise for car mechanics and engineers. The cloud services and data networks on which vehicles’ data streams run will need more human specialists to maintain them, as well.

Human cab drivers and rideshare drivers will lose jobs, the researchers note. And they expect car buying in general to decrease as more consumers rely on self-driving vehicle services-on-demand to pick them up and drive them place to place. But they express optimism that the myriad new engineering and IT-related jobs that self-driving vehicles create might more than make up for them.