The changes autonomous cars will usher in will be profound, according to AtlasTrend co-founder Kevin Hua. It may not happen quickly, but “we are already slightly down the path” and the eventual effects of self-driving vehicles will be considerable, he told Which-50.

“Change is not going to be fast. But we will have profound changes on how society lives, in terms of autonomous cars,” Hua said.

“I think our grandchildren probably won’t learn to drive. If they do learn to drive it will be a novelty or a hobby for them.”

The rise of autonomous cars will have several ripple effects as well, according to Hua. Self-driving cars will foster a “car sharing world”.

It means further disruption for the taxi industry and potentially even for their original disruptors – Uber. Although the famous ride-hailing company has already moved into the autonomous vehicle industry themselves, agreeing to buy thousands of self driving Volvos in the next four years.

The industry will be driven by three key areas, Hua said. Firstly, the development of computer chips which “drive the processing power to allow for autonomous vehicles to operate.”

Secondly, as most cars are moving towards battery or hybrid power, that technology becomes essential for autonomous vehicles too, Hua explained.

Just as important as the hardware is the software. “Innovation in software, in things such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics and the like will allow this cars to actually operate properly,” Hua said.

Early Movers – Tesla and Mercedes

Current autonomous driving technology like parking assistance and cruise control are “a very minor but fundamental change in the way cars are driven,” according to Hua. The technology is one of the big appeals of both Tesla and Mercedes latest vehicles.

Tesla intends to advance on their ‘current autopilot’ technology and introduce “almost fully autonomous cars within the next five years,” Hua said.

Mercedes is also betting on the technology. They’ve introduced a “drive pilot” system into their top end cars. “Effectively this system is an advanced cruise control system that also allows for some [assisted] emergency breaking,” Hua said.

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