A minority of individuals may elect to have personalized [transport] modules sitting at home so they can leave their vacation stuff and the kids’ soccer gear in them. They’ll still want that convenience.

The vehicles, however, will no longer be driven by humans because in 15 to 20 years — at the latest — human-driven vehicles will be legislated off the highways.

The tipping point will come when 20 to 30 percent of vehicles are fully autonomous. Countries will look at the accident statistics and figure out that human drivers are causing 99.9 percent of the accidents.

Bob Lutz, former vice chairman and head of product development at General Motors.

I keep thinking “gee, fifteen years seems kind fast…”, until I realize modern-style smartphones (i.e. the iPhone) have only been around for a decade. And look how much they’ve changed the world.

Lutz’s other point, which I think is very prescient, is that he doesn’t think the transition to autonomous vehicles will come from consumer adoption: it’ll come from rideshare companies (e.g. Uber, Lyft, traditional taxis) and logistics services (e.g. the post office). Also local councils implementing public transport, although Lutz doesn’t mention it per se; as I type this, for example, there’s an electric, self-driving bus tootling itself around outside our local mall promoting the concept.

For what it’s worth, I also think Lutz overstates the impact of companies like Uber and, by extension, markets like the US and Europe. The US in particular is not going to be the country at the forefront of autonomous vehicle adoption. It’s going to be somewhere like China, which has both the congestion/pollution/infrastructure issues to solve as well as the political clout to simply decree “okay, we’re doing this now” and, yanno, is already well on its way with similar things. Ironically, the “futurist’s dream” of the flying car really might not be that far off… except it’s not going to be a privately owned car. It’s going to be a human-carrying heli-drone run by the local public transport provider (be that organization private or public).

Either way, as someone who loathes driving? I can’t wait.