03.31
2017

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Data is King: The Road to Self-Driving Vehicles

Data is the “cash cow” of the digital age. Like gold and oil in decades past, there is a rush to accumulate as much data about consumers as quickly as possible. Companies like Facebook and Google are acquiring and making a fortune off the sale of said data. Matt McFarland of CNN tech explains the current environment surrounding data acquisition and the proliferation of sensory technology in our vehicles.

The increased presence of sensors and cameras within modern cars yield greater ability to monitor performance and surroundings. Today’s vehicles can identify which part of the car’s interior needs maintenance or if there are obstacles around us as we drive. These sensors generate data that is analyzed in the hopes of creating self-driving vehicles.

Self-driving cars would generate immense amounts of data (1 gigabyte per second according to Tom Coughlin, Founder of Coughlin Associates). The possibilities created by these acquisitions are equally immense. Vehicles will potentially be able to relay the location of specific landmarks like parking spaces in a crowded lot, for instance. While the ability to locate a parking space from a single application on your phone is beneficial, it is only one positive change self-driving vehicles could bring about.
 

How does that affect your workforce?

Self-driving vehicles would remove driver necessity in the transport industry. Taxis, cargo trucks, etc. would find their once human-operated vehicles controlled by a computer receiving incredible amounts of data as it travels.  There would not be payroll discrepancies about overtime wages. Gone would be the days of driver error resulting in accidents (which result in $242 billion a year in the United States). Like the invention of the mechanized assembly line, the widespread implementation of self-driving vehicles would make the use of anything else obsolete.

McFarland mentions that the presence of affordable autonomous travel would exponentially expand the travel market. Transportation companies would be able to enter and reach people in the developing world who are unable to afford vehicles of their own or transport services operated by human drivers. The presence of vehicles always connected to the internet opens up the avenue for location and time based advertisements. Companies could not only generate revenue from the use of vehicles and the sale of vehicle data, but also from advertisers trying to reach constituents in a particular region.

Self-driving vehicles can potentially streamline the route optimization and dispatching processes of your fleet – new orders will no longer have to be communicated from headquarters, as the car nearest a request would immediately get the request. Traffic congesting routes would be circumvented as the car receives data on the various paths towards its destination.

The advent of the self-driving vehicle will be disruptive to various industries. Companies will have to adjust their processes should the benefits outweigh the costs.

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