It's likely going to be a long time yet. Big companies such as Google are making big steps for driverless cars, with their friendly-faced, 20mph autonomous vehicles. Tesla are starting a bit smaller, admirably working to remove the monotony of motorway driving with their autopilot software. Despite being just a prototype, this project's already being rolled out to the public, you might have seen some impressive driving on YouTube, or might have seen this software attempt to drive people off the road...
Even with advancements like this it will be years until the first fully autonomous cars go to market, and even longer before everybody has one.
In today's blog we're looking at the future of driving and what it might mean for advertisers and consumers. If we no longer need to concentrate on the road while driving, will billboards still be effective? What medium will advertisers switch to?
The question we need to answer is will we each own our own car? Or will a network of cars be shared between the population, similar to taxis (minus the drivers)? When you think about it, the system of us each owning our own cars is pretty inefficient. In the UK there are roughly 35 million cars registered for use on the road, at any one time, even at rush hour how many of those are actually in use? Even half of that figure being on the road at one time is a fairly optimistic estimate. If all the cars are shared and so are on the road at one time then there will always be one when you need it, like an alternative version of London where every car's a taxi.
If it is the case that cars will be shared, we can look at taxi's and how they advertise. In highly populated areas, New York for example, taxis drive around covered in advertisements. Many cabs will even have advertisements inside, maximising marketing exposure for their passengers.
Another lucrative avenue might be device advertising, if drivers don't need to look where they're going there's a good chance they'll be looking at their phone instead, which means more chances for marketing on phones, tablets and laptops.