International cooperation must drive autonomous cars

Imagine a world where you can relax in your car, while it is driving by itself. Where elderly people can remain mobile and where your car will park itself when you tell it to. Imagine a world where we have drastically reduced the number of traffic accidents.

This world may not be that far away. While the motor industry’s 120-year history is an impressive succession of innovation, we are standing before what could be the biggest quantum leap forward in automotive technology in history.  

Over the past months, barely a week has passed without automakers or technology companies announcing their plans to develop self-driving, or autonomous cars. The technology is developing fast, with these new cars being tried and tested from California to Singapore. Now, we must work together to create the legal and physical infrastructure to fully realize this technology. 

Autonomous cars have the potential to change the life of billions of people and fundamentally change how road transportation works.  They can create a safer, more efficient and environmentally friendly commuting experience.  This would also fundamentally change the global automotive industry, which employs some 50 million people and represents a turnover of almost $2 trillion.

Thousands of lives could also be saved. Traffic accidents kill 1.24 million people per year and injure, some 50 million people, often severely, and many of the world’s cities suffer from chronic traffic congestion and pollution. The new technologies can address many of these issues.

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