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Brief Published: 13 Dec 2016

A World Without Drivers: Autonomous Vehicles


With Uber, Tesla and Google all aiming to roll out their driverless cars in the near future, Nick Morris, owner of London-based trends illumination and market research agency Canvas8, discussed the social, cultural and ethical impact of a world without drivers in a talk last week at London’s Shoreditch House hotel.

Hosted by Rising Minds, a collective that puts on free, monthly lectures in cities across the world, Morris considered future implications for both auto brands and drivers. Highlights include:

  • Watch Your Language: "To move forward, we need to change the narrative around autonomous vehicles," said Morris. "And the very first part of changing the narrative is changing the language. Autonomous is a loaded word, and it's a pretty scary word. We need a shift in the way we talk about the tech to make it feel more acceptable to consumers."
  • Shared Access Opportunity: The second opportunity lies in taking the messaging from transport to human-centric transportation. "It's not about the car, or the thing you're driving – it's about the people in it," said Morris. "Consumers in the US spend roughly six to 10 hours behind the wheel per week. Brands need to stop talking about the transport and talk about the interactions that you can have with other people – a chance to double your time with your friends, family or colleagues."
  • Identity Indicator: For many consumers, a car is a signal of identity and a marker of success for themselves and others. Brands must ensure these markers are clearly communicated with self-driving cars.

For more on the future of autonomous vehicles, see Radical Transport