LAS VEGAS — The commercial market is more likely to adopt autonomous vehicles than the consumers for a variety of reasons, according to Richard Smallwood, president and CEO of Sumitomo Rubber North America Inc.
During his keynote address during the Tire Industry Association Honors Night, Oct. 30, in Las Vegas, Mr. Smallwood noted that most auto makers are planning to unveil their own versions of autonomous vehicles in the next few years and technology companies, such as Lyft and Uber, are testing the use of autonomous ride hailing services.
But several issues need to be addressed regarding autonomous vehicles, he said, such as their impact on society — including infringement on personal privacy, increased mobility for the elderly and disabled, and economic benefits for lower income people — and the impact on industry — including the expected drop in private ownership, product liability issues and redeployment of the automotive industry workforce.
He predicted that labor unions will be the greatest obstacle to the commercial adoption of autonomous vehicles while human reluctance to giving up driving control as well as product liability issues will be the greatest obstacles to overcome on the consumer side of autonomous vehicle adoption.
Business will be forced to adapt quickly to this disruptive trend in order to survive, Mr. Smallwood warned.