The development of connected and autonomous cars will deliver huge benefits to UK society and its economy, research by KPMG shows. The new cars are expected to boost the economy by £51 billion by 2030 and create 320,000 new jobs. According to the researchers, the UK Government and businesses continuously need to focus on and commit to the development of autonomous cars in order to capitalise on the opportunities forecasted for the country.
Professional services firm KPMG recently released its ‘Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: The UK Economic Opportunity’ report, which is the firm’s first in-depth forecast report on the how the journey to full connectivity will transform the UK. The research, which was commissioned by Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), found that the development of connected and autonomous cars will significantly boost UK employment as well as save thousands of lives, delivering huge benefits to society and the economy.
According to the report, the development of autonomous cars will occur in five different levels. From assisted cars (level 1) in 2015, with adaptive cruise control and park assist, to partially automated cars (level 2) in 2020, to conditionally automated cars (level 3) in 2025, to highly automated cars (level 4) in 2030, and finally fully automated cars beyond 2030, providing the consumer a full end-to-end journey.
Based on current trends in UK's production of autonomous cars, the consulting firm expects that by 2026 all vehicles produced will be connected cars and eight out of ten (81%) are expected to be embedded with at least L3 technologies. By 2030, a quarter of cars are expected to be fully autonomous.
The increased development of these new cars will, according to the research, boost the UK economy with £51 billion by 2030, which translates to a 1% increase of GDP. This increase will, among others, come from the impact of autonomous cars on consumers. Better time use, more efficient journeys, and reduced costs in insurance, running costs and parking are all expected to positively impact the UK economy. The impact on producers will also positively impact the economy as they are expected to grow their profit, due to an increased demand for autonomous cars. Other factors contributing to the increase in GDP are an increase in trade and exports are across the economy, better use of space in cities and energy management, and revenue growth for creative industries including digital, advertising, and media.
As a result of the increased demand for autonomous cars and the boost for the UK economy, the researchers forecast a jobs impact of 320,000 by 2030, of which 25,000 will be created in automotive manufacturing, and a safety impact, with 25,000 serious road traffic accidents prevented and 2,500 lives saved between 2014 and 2030.
According to the researchers, the UK is well positioned to capitalise on the development and production of connected and autonomous cars. John Leech, Head of automotive at KPMG in the UK, explains: “Not only will these developments help vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers, but they will bolster jobs, trade and productivity across the economy. Connected and autonomous vehicles will promote social inclusion, reduce pollution and save lives. This represents an important opportunity for the economy but one that requires continued focus and commitment from government and business.”
Mike Hawes, CEO of SMMT, adds: "Connected and autonomous cars will transform our roads and the way our society functions for generations to come, dramatically reducing accidents and helping to deliver more than £50 billion to our economy. The KPMG report clearly shows the UK automotive industry is leading the way in developing the cars of the future and that it will act as a catalyst for wider economic benefits that will create more than 300,000 jobs by 2030. The UK must grasp the opportunities ahead and ensure it is continually at the forefront of pushing through these next breakthrough technologies.”