Just 20 years into the 21st century, we have already seen remarkable changes that we could never have anticipated. We've come up with 20 predictions that explore what the next 20 years may have in store for your organization.

Imagine a world where your drive to work doesn't have you driving, and instead reading a book or the latest report for work while your car drives itself. Or you don't need a car at all as an autonomous ride-hailing service or robo-taxi picks you up at your door. With 75 percent of vehicles fully autonomous by twenty years from now, the roads will be safer as automated vehicles reduce crashes and save lives. The sophisticated data network two decades from now will mean traffic will be predictable – no more rush hour traffic jams. As we are zoomed down the road in our autonomous vehicles our trips will be more productive and entertaining. Travel will also be accessible to all because those who are unable to drive, such as older people or those living with disabilities, will see those barriers fall away.

The rise of the driverless vehicle

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) will be ubiquitous 20 years from now. We won't be dependent on fossil fuels because we will use hydrogen fuel cells, on-board generators or advanced batteries, which will help with pollution and which will make travel cleaner and cheaper. The idea of mobility-as-a-service will come of in the next two decades, as well as 'micro-mobility' using electric scooters and bikes.

In 20 years, our infrastructure will be entirely different because of AVs, with cars and roads being designed and built differently. AVs increase traffic safety (particularly as real-time data will provide information on the road ahead), reduce vehicle ownership, reduce parking demand and emissions. For instance, Lidar technology, also called laser scanning, will replace headlights and act as the sensors to provide visibility at night.1 The new automated and connected vehicle will make it easier to minimize lane widths and thereby add more lanes in thoroughfares. AVs can also reduce the number of required parking lots or fit more cars in lots as driverless vehicles and autonomous valets can park closer to one another.1

Self-driving vehicles will change our cities, affecting how we live, work and play. Land freed up for traditional parking can be reallocated for housing and commercial use. Less onerous commuting times will strengthen the appeal of areas further from city centres.2 Around-the-clock mobility will lower the cost of shipping and delivery. Businesses will also be able to provide more mobile services, finding new ways to engage with consumers and improve the consumer experience.

AVs will be a particular boon for those who have mobility issues, increasing the accessibility of work, shopping and travel.2

1 Othman K., Impact of Autonomous Vehicles on the Physical Infrastructure: Changes and Challenges. Designs. 2021; 5(3):40
2 Five Ways Self-Driving Vehicles Will Change City Living, Consumer Technology Association, October 20, 2020

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