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INDUSTRY EVENT

“There is no such thing as a crashproof car. Seven percent of accidents will happen whether a computer or a human is driving,” - Barrie Kirk of CAVCOE. That said, he noted that there will still be accidents even with AVs. “There is no such thing as a crashproof car. Seven percent of accidents will happen whether a computer or a human is driving,” said Kirk. He notes that Google has been smart in making sure expectations around AVs are not set too high by saying there will be collisions and that there will be fatalities involving driverless cars in the future. “They are setting expectations where they should be,” said Kirk. “That’s good.” Kirk also predicted some big benefits from the adoption of AVs. “Full deployment of AVs would be a benefit of $65 billion year to the national GDP,” said Kirk. “The average family could save $3,000 a year.”   Urban areas would move away from being crowded, noisy environments in which each resident and visitor has their own private car, to one in which automated, connected and electric cars allow vehicle sharing and other less obtrusive means to mobility.   “This allows for mobility as a service, as a personalized mass transit option. We’re seeing a trend away from personal car ownership and a merging of regular taxi, car rental and transit business models,” said Kirk.   These shifts will have a huge impact on the private sector. “The insurance industry is waking up in a big way to the fact that their business model will be broken by about 2020,” said Kirk. “Those in the parking industry will feel changes as the self-driving taxis don’t need to sit downtown. They can go out of the core and park where it’s cheaper. Unfortunately there will be jobs lost. Anyone who is involved in driving a car, their job is at risk. Even police have to think about this when you consider that over fifty percent of interaction with the police is because of driving. If, as we assume, computers will be safer and drive strictly according to law, then we can see a need for a lot fewer traffic police.”  Kirk went on to talk about a discussion he had with a lawyer who specializes in collision litigation. “He was quite concerned about his business model. With fewer accidents there will be a lower need for litigation,” said Kirk.  We’re creeping closer and closer to fully autonomous vehicles. Consumers still

aren’t ready for them, however. A sponsor of the event, the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), has published a report summing up the findings of a recent survey that outlines the mistrust consumers feel for these vehicles. According to data collected by the CAA, Canadians do not yet “trust” autonomous vehicles. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of Canadians say they would not trust a vehicle to drive itself while they are in it. Canadians also stated concerns about vehicle hacking and theft of data generated by the vehicle. Canadians surveyed also said they believe there are benefits to driverless cars in the future, such as improved accessibility for people with mobility issues and fewer road safety incidents due to reduced human error. More than half (57 percent) of Canadians say they think this technology will advance to a point where they would fully trust a driverless car in the next 10 years. As day two of the conference got underway, Paul Godsmark, Chief Technology Officer at the Canadian Automated Vehicles Center of Excellence (CAVCOE), suggested in his comments that some Canadians are going to be surprised how fast AVs emerge. Godsmark is an avowed AV supporter. He thinks a new economy is already emerging. He encouraged all Canadians to take note of the shifting trends as he outlined what might be called the “hard take” on AVs: the arrival of these cars will be a radically disruptive event. He believe this event is already underway and will happen faster than most people might think that it will. Godsmark had some fascinating ideas and predictions. According to Godsmark there is a tsunami hitting our modern car culture, and he draws comparisons between now and the start of the 20th century when automobiles displaced horses. “It’s happening fast. In just a decade, by 1913, the horses were gone from New York City and had been replaced by cars. A similar thing will happen with AVs,” said Godsmark. “We’re in the middle of a hockey-stick like growth curve. This is happening rapidly.” The new Tesla could have an autonomous mode downloaded to it soon, so in theory there could be hundreds of

thousands of AVs on the road within just a couple of years. The arrival of completely autonomous AVs, so-called Level Four and Five automation, will kickstart a whole new economy. “There is going to be a $10 trillion mobility market. This will affect two percent of the total market. We’re talking about four percentage points of GDP here,” said Godsmark. Godsmark also said AVs will be a unique, new consumer product in that they will be able to make money for the owner. Godsmark forsees a time when people will be able to rent out their AV for the 95 percent of the time it’s not being used. “Cars are the world’s most under-used asset. Currently they sit parked for the vast majority of the time,” he said. In the years ahead AVs will be able to be rented out to others as taxis. The AVs will drop someone at work, then go off to carry other people around. The demand for public transit will be decimated, according to Godsmark. A belief among hardcore AV supporters like Godsmark is that “the auto industry is the most disruptable business on earth.” He expects that as a result of AVs onethird fewer people could use transit. “AVs will offer point-to-point service, rather than fixed routes,” he said. That will be compelling for the average person. AVs will take over bus routes with low rates of use. “This is the first consumer product to exist like this,” said Godsmark. “This is going to be transformative.” Godsmark expects each AV to replace anywhere from two to 13 private vehicles. Families will get used to automated taxis and a seeming personal chauffeur for the family always on call. AVs won’t just transport people, but goods and services. Think about “sidewalk-friendly” AVs and what that could change in the way of food delivery alone. The AV fleets will be run by commercial entities, which could eventually begin to do road work as well, according to another conference goer. The current structure of municipal finance shifts in deeply fundamental ways. As fuel taxes drop because the cars are electric, governments could find themselves in trouble. There is a new and potentially dangerous world dawning. A constellation of tech JUNE 2016 COLLISION REPAIR  57

Collision Repair Volume 15 Issue 3  
Collision Repair Volume 15 Issue 3