Tech Talk: Intel Sees Self-Driving Future As Disruptive

July 14, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

Back in early June, Intel and Strategy Analytics released a comprehensive study of the self-driving industry, predicting that this segment will be worth $7 trillion by 2050, and with the tech giant’s recent moves in the field, its long-term business strategy is slowly forming itself, revealing massive ambitions that are to be expected of a Fortune 500 company. While Intel’s recently publicized research covers a lot of areas of this emerging segment and its previous comments on driverless technologies have been just as varied in terms of subjects, every aspect of its vision of a self-driving future has one common denominator – disruption.

Intel believes that autonomous vehicles — once fully commercialized — will disrupt everything; industries, companies, cultures, and even the very concept of car ownership. The Santa Clara, California-based tech giant is one of many U.S. firms that are stressing the importance of driverless solutions in the context of reducing mortality rates, commute times, and transforming economies from their cores – hopefully for the better. The company’s latest prediction essentially puts the 2050 value of this field at the current entirety of the U.S. federal debt held by foreign countries plus an additional trillion dollars, and while widely optimistic even in the context of a forecast coming from the Silicon Valley, Intel is extremely elaborate in the manner in which it explains why it’s convinced that the self-driving technology will form one of the most valuable industries on the planet in a few decades.

What Intel refers to as the “Passenger Economy” is predicted to be a massive market in which 43 percent of all actors will utilize driverless services by 2050. Trucking is among the first industries that are set to be fundamentally changed by self-driving services, especially in developed countries, many of which are currently suffering from driver shortages, the company believes, though that shift won’t stop by the time these deficits have been accounted for; approximately every sixteenth American currently works in trucking, according to the American Trucking Associations, and many of those 7.3 million people will be without successors in the future as their jobs will simply disappear due to the new technological revolution. A similar argument could be made for taxi services that are already being heavily disrupted by ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft, all of which are not only eagerly anticipating the commercialization of self-driving vehicles but are actively developing them themselves.

As the adoption rates of driverless solutions continue to increase in the coming years, the sole concept of car ownership will be disrupted, with many automakers looking to switch to a mobility-as-a-service business model, Intel claims, adding that the majority of today’s privately owned vehicles aren’t used approximately 92 percent of the time and the autonomous driving technology will not only address, but completely eliminate that inefficiency issue. Less human drivers and cars on the road will consequently result in fewer traffic accidents and lost lives, while riders will be arriving at their destinations significantly faster, according to Intel.

All of that will ultimately lead to an entirely new global economy that’s radically different from the one that exists today, with self-driving vehicles leading to the rise of smart city companies and other firms pursuing highly experimental technologies that will benefit from the widespread adoption of driverless solutions, both directly and indirectly, Intel believes. The aforementioned arguments form the basis of Intel’s growing focus on this emerging field and explain its $15.3 billion purchase of Mobileye, an Israeli tech startup focused on driverless systems and their implementation. Only time will tell whether the company’s prediction comes true, but regardless of how large the self-driving industry becomes, one thing is certain – Intel will do everything it can to be at its forefront.