How connected cars will change the economy and jobs landscape


Two conflicting pieces of research have hit Connected CarTech’s inbox this morning. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) claim the development of connected and autonomous vehicles will help generate 320000 jobs in the UK and deliver a £51bn injection to the economy. But what does that mean on a human scale?

Research released by fleet telematics provider Masternaut reveals more than half (55%) of business drivers aged 25-34 are concerned they will be replaced by driverless cars in their working lifetime.

Naturally, that figure dwindles by demographic, with 34% aged 35-44 worried they’ll be replaced by autonomous cars and 12% of 45-54 year olds concerned. 15% of business drivers said they would change jobs if they had to work with driverless cars, while only 9% said they would prefer working with autonomous vehicles.

The SMMT research, in contrast, predominantly looks at the positives of the burgeoning connected car industry. The report predicts that by 2030, connected and autonomous vehicles could save over 2500 lives and prevent more than 25000 serious accidents in the UK.

It also argues the UK will become a dominant force in the technology’s development – but everyone has to be onside. Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, wrote: “The automotive industry belongs at the heart of this agenda but a collaborative approach across industries is required if the UK is to become a centre of excellence and reap the many social, industrial and economic benefits these technologies offer.”

The report assesses six defined levels of automation, from driver only to full automation. It asserts full automation from each journey end to end won’t arrive until at least 2030. By 2025, there will be more connected than non-connected cars on the roads, with level 3 conditional automation – the system doing the bulk of the work but the driver ready to resume at any time – crossing the same divide in 2028.

Even though both reports look at the issue from a different angle, the consensus is the same: the disruption caused by connected cars will be huge; it will just be a matter of when, not if.

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