Look, Ma, No Hands

Chunka Mui, over at Forbes, has started what promises to be a fascinating series about driverless cars, including their many positive impacts on society, as well as their negative impact on more industries than are obvious.

We’ve talked about it here on the Maark blog before (“Ghosts Riding the Whip”), and honestly, this topic gets us excited enough that most of us have swapped the company 401K for driverless car saving accounts.

It’s going to change everything. From the first article of Mui’s series:

The driverless car has broad implications for society, for the economy and for individual businesses. Just in the U.S., the car puts up for grab some $2 trillion a year in revenue and even more market cap. It creates business opportunities that dwarf Google’s current search-based business and unleashes existential challenges to market leaders across numerous industries, including car makers, auto insurers, energy companies and others that share in car-related revenue.

This innovation is definitely the type that needs to be quickly embraced by traditional car companies and the whole ecosystem of industries that surround them. Otherwise, they are going to find themselves in the same place as the recently bankrupted Kodak, which invented the digital camera in 1975, but squelched the technology because they were afraid it would eat into their film business. Instead, it was the next phase of evolution for that business.

The driverless car is the same for the auto industry. The tech is here thanks to Google, and now we just need the social and legal infrastructure for it. Auto makers can fight that or thrive as a result of it.

Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson, Flickr