Banning the Private Ownership of Autonomous Vehicles

The Biggest Public Policy Opportunity of Our Lifetimes

This article written by Steve Tiell in the Meeting of the Minds Blog found here.

Over the next decade, driverless vehicles will disrupt transportation systems, causing ripple effects across numerous billion-dollar industries. Through the innovative use of public policy, advanced societies can use this mobility transformation as a keystone event to radically improve public safety and security, greatly increase cohesion among communities, and foster economic prosperity. To be clear, autonomous vehicles will become legal and ubiquitous; the public policy opportunity is about ownership.

There is no need for private ownership of autonomous vehicles. If legislators seize the opportunity to lead the driverless mobility revolution and ban private ownership, society will reap abundant returns.

First, this will require manufactures to transform their business strategies from producing goods for consumption-based markets to service-based markets. Society gains sustainability benefits here as incentives for full lifecycle producer responsibility become the norm. Existing product liability laws already hold the producer of an autonomous vehicle at fault if it causes an accident; like it or not, the introduction of autonomous vehicles will disrupt consumer insurance markets as liability shifts from the driver to the manufacturer.