Driverless Cars Set to Save World Economies Billions – World Study

Traffic accidents cost world economies billions each year, but with the development of autonomous driving technologies these costs could be reduced dramatically.

Autonomous driving technologies are revolutionising the automotive industry with their promise to improve vehicle safety and reduce traffic accidents, but what is the monetary impact of this on GDP? Experts at Global Positioning Specialists (GPS) have revealed how much GDP could be saved through driverless cars in 73 countries.

GPS combined the percentage of GDP lost to traffic accidents with the total GDP of each country alongside the percentage that driverless tech could reduce traffic accidents to calculate both the total GDP lost to traffic accidents each year and the amount of GDP that driverless technology could save.

Top 20 Countries Where Driverless Tech Could Save Billions:

GDP lost to traffic accidents


The US topped the list of 73 countries, where over $340bn is lost to traffic accidents each year, the largest amount of GDP lost in the world. If all vehicles in the US were driverless, the amount of GDP lost could be substantially reduced. In particular, GDP lost to traffic accidents could be cut by over $306bn a year, making the roads considerably safer.

While the US lose the most GDP to traffic accidents, South Africa has the highest percentage of GDP lost to traffic accidents in the world (7.8%), but because of a much lower GDP, South Africa ranked 13th, where driverless tech could have reduced lost GDP by over $21bn.

The UK and Australia, ranking 8th and 9th respectively, both lose over $28bn GDP to traffic accidents each year. Driverless cars could save the UK and Australia over $25bn each year.

Lucile Michaut, head of GPS comments: “This research has two facets to it, on the one hand there is the amount of money which we spend on accidents each year, which in itself is interesting. Then you realise how many of these accidents could be avoided with new driverless technology. Governments will never spend on investing in things like this unless there is concrete evidence, but here we have proved there are strong economic reasons to invest in driverless technology, as well as the obvious improvement to public safety.”

World Data:

Sources: WHO Global Report on Road Safety 2015, World DataBank Gross Domestic Product 2015, and McKinsey & Company How Autonomous Cars Could Redefine The Automotive World 2016
Global Positioning Specialists

Positioning for competing in the new mobility ecosystem

Big moves in the mapping industry and Apple on the move.

Understanding the importance of maps to autonomous vehicle mobility, Uber acquired Bing Maps technology.

Audi, BMW and Daimler purchased Nokia’s mapping division, Here, for $3.1 billion US. This was a strategic acquisition as the auto manufacturers compete with Google and other tech giants for the mapping technology key to the commercialization of driverless vehicles. The auto manufacturers’ plan is to pool real-time data (example: information on icy roads). They insist Here will be run as an open platform to the benefit of all Here‘s customers.

Other reasons why the purchase of Here was important to the German automakers:

  • The auto OEMs can receive the licensing fees from major companies such as Amazon, Bing, Yahoo, Flickr, SAP, and Oracle that already rely on the Here mapping platform.
  • The deal will allow automakers to take control of user location data and monetize it through local advertising.
  • Mapping is essential to vehicle automation and it makes a whole lot of sense that automotive companies will want to have control of that information.
  • Shutting out Google and other mapping giants.

Delphi announced acquisitions (including automated-driving technology producer Ottomatika and Quanergy Systems, a company that develops light detection and ranging scanners enabling cars to locate objects and generate digital maps) enabling the company to better compete in the autonomous vehicle space.

TomTom and Bosch will be collaborating on the development of highly accurate maps for autonomous vehicles.

Recognizing the value of data and that future mobility will be controlled by data, car manufacturers are limiting the data they share with technology partners like Apple and Google.

In the last few weeks, we have witnessed more signs that Apple might be getting into the auto business. The tech giant has hired two individuals: Doug Betts (formerly Chrysler’s quality chief & SVP) and Paul Furgale (Swiss autonomous vehicle and robotics expert). Apple also hired a senior engineer Jamie Carlson from Tesla Motors, as part of Apple‘s effort to build a team of experts in automated driving. At least six others with experience developing self-driving technology and systems have joined Apple, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

Further potential evidence: Apple boosted its R&D budget by $1.5 billion. In addition, Apple representative visit to a BMW factory have fuelled rumours of a possible partnership between the two companies. Further, The Guardian claims to have accessed documents indicating that Apple engineers from the company’s “secretive Special Project group met with officials from GoMentum Station, a 2,100-acre former naval base near San Francisco that is being turned into a high-security testing ground for autonomous vehicles”. While no confirmation has been provided by Apple, the signs are indicating that the company is in fact working on the development of an electric, self-driving vehicle.

Microsoft has reportedly agreed to invest in Uber as part of a funding round that values the ride-hailing company at about $US51 billion.

Delphi Automotive bought Ottomatika, a Carnegie Mellon University spin-off that supplied software used to pilot the self-driving Audi across the US earlier this year.

The world’s largest automotive company by revenue is redefining its strategy regarding manufacturing and distribution of automobiles. Toyota believes the future of mobility for urbanites lies in covering distances between transit and destination (home / work). It therefore wants to rebrand itself as a public transport provider, not merely a vehicle manufacturer.

Hoping to grab a piece of the driverless car investment pie, Australia is gearing for autonomous vehicle trials. We learned that Audi could be preparing to test autonomous cars in this country. Meanwhile, in the UK, the government has released rules to get self-driving vehicles onto public roads.

In the US, a variety of stakeholders from numerous industries (including auto manufacturing, insurance and telecommunications) have come together to develop a “fake” city in Michigan for the testing of connected and driverless vehicle technology. Michigan is only one of the states looking to attract automakers and tech companies to undertake testing of driverless vehicles. Virginia, Florida, Nevada, Texas and California are but some of the states all vying for a piece of the R&D pie.

In the last month, it was revealed that Google set up Google Auto in 2011. The company is a licensed auto manufacturer. The company’s self-driving vehicle technology is being tested in Texas. Google sees several benefits to doing this, including testing in a new environment with new challenges, being exposed to viewpoints beyond those of Silicon Valley and a relaxed regulatory environment with no reporting requirements.

The CEO of SNCF, the French railway company that runs the high-speed TGV has stated that he wants the company to offer door-to-door mobility services: “We can’t just provide trains; we have to consider those last few miles people want to travel as well. So we want to offer bikes, electric cars, car sharing, carpooling, light rail systems.”

Also from France, Ségolène Royal, the Minister for Ecology, confirmed driverless vehicles would soon be tested on France’s roads and highways.

Photo: Here

Jurisdictions demonstrating an interest in driverless technology

More and more jurisdictions are demonstrating interest in opening up their roads and highways for the testing of driverless vehicle technology.

More and more jurisdictions are demonstrating interest in opening up their roads and highways for the testing of driverless vehicle technology. A change of regulations permitting such testing is often a first step towards attracting R&D investments.

Iowa could soon see the first autonomous vehicle only road in the state that would be used as a real-time transit only movement.

Nevada’s Governor wants “transportation officials to consider adding support for self-driving cars as part of a multimillion dollar highway improvement project in Las Vegas”.

Virginia is opening up over 70 miles for autonomous vehicles to test their real-world skills. The Virginia Automated Corridors (combination of highways, arterial roads, and urban streets) represent a microcosm of the conditions SDCs “will face once broad-scale deployment takes place, tapping into HD maps from HERE and vehicle-to-vehicle communication tech.”

New Zealand Transport Minister has discussed the potential for his country’s roads to be used to test driverless vehicles and according to an article in the New Zealand Herald, “Google’s California staff have expressed an interest in testing driverless cars in New Zealand”.

In China, manufacturers and suppliers are “being told to step up their game in the race towards autonomous vehicles”.

Cross-industry collaborations

Baidu has suggested that it will “roll out” a NHTSA Level 3 autonomous vehicle by the end of this year.

The development of the technology has given rise to collaborations between stakeholders from a variety of industries. One such collaboration is between Chinese web giant, Baidu, and BMW. Baidu has suggested that it will “roll out” a NHTSA Level 3 autonomous vehicle by the end of this year.

In the drone space, NASA and Verizon are working together in an effort to “develop a sort of air-traffic control on cell towers for small, low-altitude drones”.  The first tests are scheduled for this summer, and “Verizon is working toward offering things like navigation and data for drones by 2017”.

Off-road autonomous applications

Farming and mining are but two activities that are going “driverless”.

Farming and mining are but two activities that are going “driverless”.  Both present advantages of lower costs and increased productivity.

With declining demand and prices for numerous commodities, including iron ore, mining companies are turning to autonomous vehicle technologies to decrease costs. It is estimated that Rio Tinto is saving approximately one million $ annually with every autonomous vehicle in service.