When Google's self-driving program spin-off, Waymo, began offering to let Phoenix-area families try out its vehicle service last month, it touched off what a new study is calling "a historic revolution in transportation."
While the number of Americans using all forms of ride-sharing — autonomous or otherwise — is currently quite small, RethinkX, an independent think tank that looks at the impact of new technology, says it will grow rapidly. By 2030, it predicts in its new report, 95 percent of the miles traveled in the U.S. will be in self-driving, shared electric vehicles.
That's a far more rapid transition than others have been predicting. A recent report by the Boston Consulting Group delivered a shock to many by forecasting 25 percent of U.S. miles would be driven in shared, driverless, electric vehicles by 2030. But "it's time to adjust our thinking," said Tony Seba, a co-author of the RethinkX study, "Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030: The Disruption of Transportation and the Collapse of the ICE Vehicle and Oil Industries."
"We are on the cusp of one of the fastest, deepest, most consequential disruptions of transportation in history," said Seba, RethinkX co-founder. "But there is nothing magical about it. This is driven by the economics."