Myth: Robotaxis cannot take over the market quickly

 |  6 May 2024

False. Technology changes in the automotive industry have happened quickly many times before.

In 1908, the year that Ford’s assembly line started, there were about 200,000 cars in the U.S. and 20 million horses—or 100 times as many horses as cars. Even if each car drove six or seven times as much distance each year as a horse, then cars were responsible for only about 6% of combined vehicle miles that year.

But by 1923, just 15 years later, there were 18 million horses and 13 million cars. So, cars were likely responsible for more than 80% of vehicle miles.

We went from essentially all horse-powered travel to all car-powered travel in only a decade and a half.

In 1963, fewer than 10% of new cars had seat belts, but they were in more than 95% of new cars by 1966. Disk brakes became popular over just four years in the 1960s. Power steering went from about 20% of new cars in 1955 to over 80% in 1970.

Now, new cars are changing from combustion-powered to battery electric. (In some parts of the world, like Norway, this market transition is largely complete.) Rapid revolutions are the norm in the automotive industry.

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Witness the transformation

The disruption of the transportation sector by robotaxis and TaaS is inevitable. In common with other technology-driven disruptions, the shift to TaaS will be non-linear and follow an S-curve, where TaaS will become progressively cheaper and improve its functionality, while combustion vehicles become ever more expensive to operate and harder to use. 

Learn more about the disruption and transformation of the transportation industry.

Published on: 12/07/23

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