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Monday, July 30, 2018

How Driverless Cars Will Affect Your Budget

Aerial Photo of Buildings and Roads
It seems like every other day there’s a new article listing all the ways driverless cars are set to change our lives; the excitement in certain industries can feel almost palpable. However, a recent AAA study found that 63% of U.S. drivers are still nervous about riding in a completely autonomous vehicle. While that is a drop from numbers in early 2017, there is still a large part of the population that feels unsure about the emerging technology.

Most customers will care more about the practical implications of these advancements. They want to know how this technology will affect their daily lives, rather than which big companies are fighting to bring it to the market first.

Most importantly, will these cars even be accessible to the average consumer? Here are some of the ways driverless cars are slated to affect your wallet.

The First Models Will Be Expensive

With luxury auto brands like Tesla, Audi, and more having the capital to research and test driverless tech, these high-end car makers will likely be the first to introduce autonomous cars to the market. Unfortunately for the average consumer, this could mean adding an additional $10,000 to the existing, average cost of a vehicle.

The number is expected to come down as the technology becomes more widely accessible, but could stop driverless cars in their tracks.

Fewer Accidents, Lower Insurance Rates

On the bright side, driverless cars are expected to lower the number of road accidents. Drunk driving will hypothetically be a thing of the past, allowing the auto accident injuries injuries to decline alongside them.

Thanks to fewer accidents, car insurance costs will plummet, as any collision that does occur will be due to mechanical – not human – error. Liability will shift to auto manufacturers, saving you hundreds of dollars each year.

Saving Money on the Little Things

If you have multiple drivers in your household, complicated carpool systems could be a thing of the past. Your single driverless car could drop one person off at work, return home, take someone else in, run the kids to school, and even cover pick-up duty.

Not only could your household save money on the cost of buying and maintaining an additional vehicle, an autonomous vehicles ability to return home on its own could save you large sums of money. In 2017, INRIX research found that in the U.S. alone, drivers spend an average of 17 hours a year looking for an open space, which wastes upwards of $345 worth of gas. Remove the need to find a parking spot, and watch your savings increase.

Driverless cars are not yet ready for mass adoption, but if all goes smoothly these vehicles can be a big help with savings. Not only will the roads become safer, but also drivers will be able to save on the seemingly minor details that tend to add up.

By Rae Steinbach, freelance editor at The Rothenberg Law Firm, LLP

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