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Daimler showed its vision of autonomous driving at the CES in Las Vegas (Photo: Daimler)

The arrival of autonomous vehicles will fundamentally change the automotive industry and car drivers, automotive companies and other personal mobility players should start preparing today already, a new report from management consultants McKinsey says.

"Although it will take a bit of time before we will see self-driving cars in bigger volumes on the streets, automakers should now already address the possible consequences," Detlev Mohr, head of McKinsey's European automotive consulting business, said in a press release.

McKinsey cited 10 ways in which autonomous vehicles (AVs) will change personal mobility as we know it:

  1. Autonomous vehicles could revolutionise commercial and industrial transport, with trucks likely to lead the way, ahead of passenger cars.
  2. Automakers will be forced to fix their strategies in the next two to three years. They must choose whether they want to be leaders, fast followers or late entrants. McKinsey also said new market entrants could specifically design autonomous vehicles.
  3. End customers will get new mobility options as alternatives to car ownership grow.
  4. The after-sales car service landscape may change radically as autonomous vehicles decide themselves when and where to seek maintenance. Service shops will also require much more specialised equipment to service autonomous vehicles.
  5. Insurers can be expected to shift from insuring against human error to insuring against technical failure.
  6. Autonomous vehicles will change the logistics of transportation and supply chains.
  7.  Drivers will, on average, free up 50 minutes a day to devote to more productive activities.
  8. Autonomous vehicles could free up 5.7 billion square meters of parking space in the US alone.
  9. Car crashes would become less lethal than they are today, reducing the cost of traffic fatalities to governments and tax payers.
  10. Autonomous vehicles will speed up the commercial development of robotics in other areas.
McKinsey said the time freed up by autonomous vehicles would open up a new market for services. Said Mohr: "Every additional minute in the car where people could surf the web undisturbed provides a revenue potential of 5 billion euros a year."

The management consultants also said the transformation of the car industry could open the door to new entrants from other industries such as IT and high-tech. That's why car companies need to decide which critical IT or software areas they want to control in the long term, McKinsey said.