Driverless Cars: Trillions Are Up for Grabs

July 18, 2013
author |
Chunka Mui, Paul B. Carroll
year published |

In January 2013, Chunka Mui started a series of columns at Forbes on the driverless car, drawn from research that he and Paul Carroll were conducting for their coming book, “The New Killer Apps: This Time, Incumbents Can Beat Startups.” That seven-part series garnered almost 500,000 views and generated hundreds of informative comments from all over the world. Given the immense interest, Mui and Carroll have turned that series into this ebook. They’ve integrated all the columns, incorporated many of the comments and added their latest research.

This ebook shows that, while much has been written about Google’s driverless car, coverage has mistakenly focused on its science-fiction feel. While the car is certainly cool, the gee-whiz focus suggests that it is just a high-tech dalliance by a couple of brash young billionaires, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

In fact, the driverless car has broad implications for society, for the economy and for individual businesses. Just in the U.S., driverless technologies could save tens of thousands of lives, prevent hundreds of thousands of injuries and avoid hundreds of billions of dollars in accident-related losses each year. The driverless car puts up for grabs some $2 trillion a year in car-related 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 ebook explores the ripple effects that driverless cars might create and explains how to think about the strategic perils and possibilities.

Even beyond the world of autos, the driverless car should be a wake-up call about the pace of disruptive technological change that looms for every industry. The Google car is nothing more than a mashup of widely available technological innovations, and similarly bold mashups can create killer apps that will upend every information-intensive industry. The approach offered in this ebook is how every company should innovate: by thinking big, starting small and learning fast.

If you enjoy this ebook, look for the longer treatment in “The New Killer Apps,” due in fall 2013.

(Kindle only)