Autonomous vehicles will not only replace human drivers but also transform the auto industry, auto service and repair industry, insurance industry, medical industry, transportation industry, accident and injury law, emergency response departments, as well as city planning and residential and commercial development.
Self driving vehicles will virtually eliminate traffic accidents (most are caused by human error, 90%+), this will lead to much lower auto insurance premiums as auto insurance will be virtually unnecessary. Auto and repair industry will see less cars being purchased/repaired as cars don’t need to be replaced from accidents. Medical community will see a significant drop in auto accident patients (2.2+ million people are injured in car accidents each year just in the US). Auto accident and injury lawyers will see their businesses vaporized by at least 90%. Additionally police, fire department, ambulance, and judicial services associated with traffic accidents and traffic tickets will be reduced 10 fold.
When a vehicle is fully autonomous, it can work 24 hours a day 365 days a year. For this reason a lot less vehicles will be necessary to accommodate current needs, when the car drops you off at work it will not need to park it self in the office parking lot, it will find someone else to deliver. Autonomous vehicles will be shared, there will be little incentive to own a car the total car fleet will drop by 2 to 4 times if not more. This will intern reduce vehicle sales and traffic congestion.
Taxi, truck, public transportation, delivery or any other type of professional driver will all be automated and put out of work. At the same time making each of the services significantly cheaper or obsolete.
DMVs will close as there will be no need to get a driver’s licenses, not only will it be illegal for a human to drive, but it will also be impossible to drive for a human, as a fully autonomous vehicles will blast through intersections at top speed zipping through intersecting traffic which will be doing the same. The autonomous cars will have a response times measured in ms/ns and will be in constant communication with all the other vehicles and objects in its surroundings, always having a 360 degree view; therefore, the only limiting factor in autonomous vehicle performance will be the g-forces the human body can comfortably handle and the human psyche. Perhaps car windows will not be a good idea, and will be replaced by scenic vistas displayed in the car’s interior. The passenger might also have their personal maximum g-force setting that the vehicle will respect.
Autonomous vehicles will always follow traffic rules and they will not need physical signals to do so (location based traffic laws will be digitally encoded), therefore no need for traffic lights, road lights, traffic signs, or any sort of markers on the roads, there will also be no traffic tickets, cities will need to find other ways to subsidise already massively reduced police departments.
City planning will change as the drop in vehicle fleets will significantly reduce monetary outlays for roads and highways as well as virtually eliminate parking lots and parking structures. Commercial and residential structures will no longer need additional space for parking structures/garages/parking spots, this will significantly reduce costs and land requirement for a given structure.