Who knew that sitting on our butts could earn us money? Intel funded a new study by research firm Strategy Analytics about autonomous vehicles, saying that the “passenger economy,” as they call it, could be worth $800 billion in 2035 and $7 trillion by 2050. A lot of the money will come from futuristic new businesses made possible by people sitting rather than driving, with the “cognitive surplus” gains divided between consumers and businesses.
For consumers, that includes the creation of fully automated car services that become as comprehensive as public transit, but with amenities such as mini beauty salons or cafes, and micro hotels for overnight trips. Less dramatic but more plausibly, people will be free to work during their commute instead of drive—with 250 million hours per year freed up just in the world’s most-congested cities.
Businesses, unsurprisingly, will save a lot by not paying truck drivers and by being able to run delivery trucks nearly 24/7, along with help from drones. Intel hopes to soften the blow by putting those workers into inventory and customer-service jobs. Companies will also hire more tech specialists and data scientists—wiping out more blue-collar jobs. Intel is one of the businesses best positioned to gain from these rosy predictions: It builds autonomous vehicle systems, servers for data centers, and 5G wireless systems to tie everything together.
[Source: Strategy Analytics]