Autonomous Cars Could Lead To Billions In 'Digital' Revenue By 2025

If you grew up watching The Jetsons like I did, you might have thought we'd all be commuting in flying cars by now. We're still a long ways from that kind of technology, though in its place are self-driving cars like the ones Google has been experimenting with. According to a new study, it won't be all that long before autonomous vehicles become a part of everyday life.

Not only that, but we'll have lots of reasons to kick back and sing "Everything is Awesome" as our self-driving cars whiz through traffic and deliver us all to our destinations safely and more efficiently than we're currently able to do in our manually driving vehicles.

Google Self Driving Car

The study, which was released today by McKinsey & Company, suggests that widespread adoption of self-driving cars could reduce vehicle crashes in the U.S. by 90 percent. That in turn would save nearly $200 billion a year from costs associated with injuries and death. And on top of it all, commuters would reclaim up to 50 minutes of their day that was previously devoted to driving.

It doesn't stop there. According to the study, all that free time that we would gain back could generate around $5.6 billion a year in digital revenue for each additional minute that people spend on the Internet. That works out to $140 billion if people spending half of those 50 additional minutes surfing the web.

So, when is this going to happen? The study points to 2025 to 2030 for early adopters, with mass adoption taking place around the year 2040. If true, insurance companies would have to adapt. Rather than insure drivers from personal and property damage, they may charge for protection from technical failures.

Lost in all this is how much these vehicles will cost.