Automated cars are coming. Some people are excited. Many are apprehensive. What do you think?
In this series, we are examining 7 Industries that are ripe for disruption. As an executive coach and author helping individuals think bigger and reach higher, I am using this post to help you re-engineer your thinking about innovation. Having grown up in the car culture of the 1960s, I have an affinity for sports cars and what they have come to mean to us. That is why I focused on Chevettes to Corvettes as the metaphor for my first book.
The Problem with Automated Cars
Automated Cars is one of the most discussed technologies in our car-centric culture. Since the 1950s we have loved our cars for the freedom they have provided. But we seem to ignore the fact that nearly 37,000 people die in car accidents just in the United States each year. Another 2.35 million are injured annually. As leaders of business, that should get us thinking because it costs the U.S. $230.6 billion per year. That is an average of $820 per person.
Why is that? Why do so many fear the automated car trend?
We Fear Uncertainty of Automated Cars
Many are more comfortable with the problems they have than the solutions that will be. We all do this to some degree. We fear the uncertainty of the new trend because we don’t know what will happen. We cannot predict the future because we haven’t seen it. So many focus on the fears. They talk with others who are also fearful, listen to news reports and read articles about what went wrong. From there it is easy to get caught up in panic.
Does that sound a bit melodramatic?
It is but, let’s face it, you and I know people like this. Anytime we initiate change as leaders, they push back, worried about the consequences.
Why is that? Because they crave control.
We Crave Control
Many struggle to trust others and definitely have trouble trusting automation when it comes to transportation. But if we look back to the time when cars were introduced, many were apprehensive about these new contraptions. The Detroit News notes that “The first decade of the 20th century there were no stop signs, warning signs, traffic lights, traffic cops, driver’s education, lane lines, street lighting, brake lights, driver’s licenses or posted speed limits. Our current method of making a left turn was not known, and drinking-and-driving was not considered a serious crime.” The uncertainty of the situation forced changes in the laws because everyone needed to know the rules of the road. They could not control their own safety if there were no traffic laws.
But the situation with automated cars is different. When cars were first introduced, they created a safety problem. But automated cars will make us safer.
I purchased a new car last year that has lane control monitoring. It was a bit unnerving when I first felt the car take over as I came too close to the other lane. But as I began to trust it, I realized how much safer it made me as a driver. I no longer have to worry about how close I am to the line because I can see the sensor on my dash.
We Cherish Freedom
Most of us couldn’t wait to drive because it gave us freedom. We could go where we wanted. For a teenager anxious to spread their wings and escape the clutches of mom and dad, a car is essential. That is why many seniors fight to retain their driving privileges. We cherish our freedom.
We also cherish the freedom to drive the way we want. When I owned my 1986 Corvette, I loved to feel the power, especially when accelerating up an onramp. The fun of a sports car is pushing the limits and taking risks. Why would anyone want to give up that freedom?
Re-engineering Our Thinking about Automated Cars
The challenge of automated cars, like any other innovation, is looking ahead to the opportunities instead of back to what we may have lost. As automated cars become prevalent on the roads, we will have far more freedom to use that time productively. Instead of focusing on our driving, we can start work when we get in the car or simply use that time to read, listen to music or catch a little more sleep.
We will enjoy far better safety. The number of fatalities and injuries will be reduced.
Ultimately, you won’t need a drivers license. Imagine no more trips to the DMV.
Cars will rely more on electricity so driving will be less expensive. Imagine no need for gas, oil or hydraulics.
We will likely share cars and that will mean we need fewer parking garages or roads. Imagine not having to hunt for a parking spot.
We will think about cars differently. Just as we now see our phones much differently than we did 40 years ago, we will see our cars differently.
How will innovation impact you?
How will you begin changing your thinking today?
What opportunities do you see in these changes?
Do you want to learn more about the disruptions that could lead to your breakthrough opportunity? My clients are constantly impressed and appreciate the new opportunities I help them see.