Connected cars will create a new class of digitally-connected consumer. Business should prepare to tap into the opportunity.
Most of us already consume heavy amounts of media and advertising in digital formats and more and more of us are shopping online. The large amounts of data generated by connected and autonomous cars should create a new way of connecting with consumers by providing advertising tailored to local services and facilities.
Car manufacturers own that data and have pledged not to share or use it. But I see this changing as consumers opt-in to data sharing.
Allowing the car to take the strain will also allow consumers to be digitally connected for greater stretches of time on smartphones and tablets, not only when we are on the bus or the sofa.
Freed from the demands of driving, we can use our cars as mobile workplaces, movie theatres or even sleep pods. Its advent could trigger a move towards rural living, with people happy to live further from work.
However, any technological advance brings disruption, and autonomous vehicles are no exception. Insurers may benefit from more data but there will also be far fewer accidents so their business will shrink. Independent repair shops may well face pressure as the cars remotely communicate with their manufacturers and franchised dealers when they require servicing (and crash less). Delivery drivers will suffer as well.
All that said, the benefits of the autonomous car revolution are so great I think we need to tolerate a certain amount of disruption. A world where we are all at liberty to travel without the fear of road accidents is a price worth paying.