Robots and autonomous driving
The way that consumers interact with cars as well as the way that they operate cars will transform most functions in commuting, travel, communications, car ownership and many other as-yet unknown ways.
Dieter Zetsche, chairman of Daimler and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said at this year's CES in Las Vegas: "Anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society."
Autelligence, an auto industry research firm, said in a press release announcing their new 208-page $2,345 report The Autonomous Vehicle Revolution: How It Will Affect the Automotive Sector:
Whether fully driverless or not, the technology has tremendous implications for the hardware and software that control the operations of the vehicle and has major implications for the way cars communicate with the outside world, with each other, and with the driver or occupants. It has implications for the functions that drivers and car owners expect on their vehicles. And ultimately, because it affects the way consumers interact with vehicles, it has implications for interior and exterior design, and in the end, for all the major hardware areas of the vehicles - chassis, powertrain and transmission.
The ethics of autonomous cars received the most attention up until Mercedes showed their new concept S-Class Sedan at CES Las Vegas and then drove it around the streets of Las Vegas and more recently San Francisco. The ethics debate took a back seat to imagination as reporters grasped how significantly different our lives will be when these cars hit the road.
Nevertheless, driverless cars must be capable of taking the ethical route of avoiding collisions, passing on road and safety information to others near and far, and providing creature comforts as never before.