Australia’s future car industry should be 'driven without drivers'

AUSTRALIA has the chance to reinvigorate its motor industry by taking a lead in driverless vehicles according to the author of a new book, Autropolis, the diverse mobility revolution.

An imminent revolution greater than the introduction of the personal computer (PC) or the smartphone, according to economist and future strategist, Brian Haratsis, is the autonomous vehicle (AV). 

He believes the AV revolution will change the way Australians move about, where we live, how we shop, property values and employment opportunities.

Recent announcements by Uber about purchasing Volvo driverless cars, just a few days after Mr Haratsis launched his book in November, indicate his timelines for this revolution may be shortened. He now predicts driverless cars will start to transform Australia by the 2020s. 

Mr Haratsis has revised his forecasts for the implementation of driverless cars from 30 percent of car sales to 60 percent by 2020-26. 

“The revised forecasts are due to the automated vehicle industry and associated technology maturing much more quickly than originally thought,” Mr Haratsis said.

 “The Uber purchase of 24,000 vehicles supports my more aggressive forecasts,” Mr Haratsis said. He wanted that the urgency for policy makers to put Australia at the forefront of this growing industry was heightened by the Uber purchase.

“We need to participate in the automated vehicle industry to support local jobs and not to become importers of all of our future mobility solutions,” Mr Haratsis said.

AVs are the future and the future is here now,” Mr Haratsis said.

“Bigger than PCs and bigger than smartphones, the mobility revolution of autonomous vehicles has already been set in motion within Australia, and is set to revolutionise the world as we know it.

“Autropolis is a key first step in understanding and learning how to harness the great benefits this new technology holds.”

Autropolis outlines the opportunities and benefits that are likely to result from a well-considered introduction of autonomous vehicles, along with providing a rich context and rationale for the accelerated introduction of AVs.

“The book is about understanding how autonomous vehicles can be managed, controlled and utilised in the context of social, economic and environmental outcomes because if we don’t do it that way we will run into another freeway building era,” Mr Haratsis said.

“Business opportunities will be revolutionised, particularly within the property, IT telecommunications, retail, finance, car sales and parking industries.”

The book is a must-read for urban developers, engineers, architects, planners, business owners and the general community to understand, participate in and influence this potentially cataclysmic upheaval of personal lifestyle and business practices.

“AVs will deliver new jobs as well as high levels of productivity,” Mr Haratsis said. “They are a critical component and facilitator of Australia’s emerging global service economy and changing industry structure.

“Australia will participate in a new globalised car industry. If Australia can achieve an early mover advantage, this will mean around 16,000 new jobs and up to 15 billion dollars worth of private investment per annum.

“What this will do for Australia is position us as a global leader in the development of tech cities post 2030,” Mr Haratsis said.

“AVs will transform Australia in ways unimaged because AVs include not only passenger and freight vehicles but also terrestrial delivery vehicles and air based drones.  AVs will also revolutionise the world not only in terms of physical connectedness but also through accelerated development of artificial intelligence (AI).  The challenge is to harness the AV revolution, to maximise the exciting and unexpected benefits for all Australians.” 

These observed trends, likely to drive and shape Australia’s future, were what drove Mr Haratsis to write Autropolis and explain why he is passionate about sharing his research with business leaders and the broader community alike.

Brian Haratsis is an economist and future strategist with more than 30 years experience as an advisor, focusing on economic forecasting as it relates to private sector property, communities, tourism and social. He is the executive chairman of Macroplan Dimasi, current chairman of the Australian Driverless Vehicles Initiative and is regularly asked to provide comment in the media.

Autropolis: How and When Automated Vehicles Will Transform Australia and Why it Matters retails for $39.95 for print and $9.95 for e-book.



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