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The future of driverless vehicles is set to have a big effect on owner-driven sedans, according to a new study.

Research from consulting firm KPMG last week found that ride services such as Uber will continue to rise in popularity within the next decade,  particularly within built-up urban areas. By 2030 it is expected that sale of sedans would drop dramatically in the United States – from 5.4 million units to just 2.1 million units.

Automotive Sector leader at KPMG LLP Gary Silberg said while there would be a global shift towards “driverless vehicles coupled with mobility services”, the changes won’t happen right away

“However, the adoption of this new transportation mode will not be immediate, and it will not be everywhere. Instead, it will arrive metro market by metro market in what we call ‘islands of autonomy.’

“Each island will need a unique mix of vehicles to meet unique demands, which will greatly impact the breakdown of the car park, especially sedans.”

From a local perspective, the move to autonomous vehicles is likely to be more of a staggered transition but it remains an extremely lucrative market.

According to industry estimates, by 2020, the autonomous vehicle market will be worth US$87 billion. By as early as 2040, it is predicted that four out of every 10 vehicles on the road will be autonomous.

And it seems the changes will not only be a huge leap forward from a technological perspective, but also from a safety one.

Recent data compiled by the National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA) found that 94 per cent of all crashes were a result of human error. NRMA chairman Kyle Loads said autonomous vehicles would have a dramatic effect on improving the safety of Australian roads.

“Accidents caused by drug-driving, drink-driving, speeding, in the future that will be no more,” NRMA chairman Kyle Loads said.

“There’ll be literally thousands of lives saved as a result of in the future people utilising autonomous vehicles.”

  • For more details on the KPMG research, click here.
  • To read the NRMA paper on The Future of Car Ownership click here.