100 years ago, Henry Ford perfected the mass-produced car. According to The Economist the next decade will see changes to our society and culture that will be more dramatic than those that Ford’s business created.
If and when cars go completely driverlessâ€”for those who want thisâ€”the benefits will be enormous. Google gave a taste by putting a blind man in a prototype and filming him being driven off to buy takeaway tacos. Huge numbers of elderly and disabled people could regain their personal mobility. The young will not have to pay crippling motor insurance, because their reckless hands and feet will no longer touch the wheel or the accelerator. The colossal toll of deaths and injuries from road accidentsâ€”1.2m killed a year worldwide, and 2m hospital visits a year in America aloneâ€”should tumble down, along with the costs to health systems and insurers.