Autonomous vehicles (AVs) promise tremendous societal benefits. As shown in our previous report on the topic, Revolution in the Driver’s Seat: The Road to Autonomous Vehicles, the widespread adoption of AVs could eliminate the more than 30,000 annual U.S. road fatalities, improve travel time by as much as 40 percent, recover up to 80 billion hours lost to commuting and congestion, and reduce fuel consumption by as much as 40 percent. Those societal benefits could be worth as much as $1.3 trillion in the U.S. alone, according to various studies. Consumers are keen to embrace AVs. Moreover, it’s likely that AVs can be manufactured and marketed affordably and profitably.
Our previous report on AVs focused on individual automotive companies, also known as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and consumers, drawing on The Boston Consulting Group’s extensive survey of 1,510 U.S. consumers for insights into the economics of the market for AVs, the technical challenges facing individual OEMs and suppliers, the likely rates of adoption among consumers, and the economic savings and other benefits that AVs could generate.
The current report, which is based on an exclusive collaboration with the World Economic Forum (the Forum), focuses on the technical, societal, and legal and regulatory ramifications of AVs, paying particular attention to the most substantial roadblocks to widespread adoption of AVs and how they can be overcome. We partnered with the Forum in a one-year initiative that explored the question of how to make self-driving vehicles a reality. As part of our collaboration, we convened a working group consisting of senior executives of automotive, technology, and insurance companies as well as public-sector authorities. They participated with us in intensive workshops focused on AVs, the need for multistakeholder collaboration to reap the massive societal benefits that AVs promise, and the forms that such collaboration could take.