The self-driving vehicle revolution will create a “passenger economy” worth trillions of dollars by 2050, according to new research commissioned by Intel (INTC), the chipmaker that has already invested significant capital in the sector.

The study, conducted by Strategy Analytics, argues that autonomous vehicles will indirectly boost the economy by $800 billion once they become a mainstream fixture in 2035, before eventually being worth $7 trillion just 15 years later. These gains are expected to be generated in a variety of ways, including saving 250 million hours per year of consumer commuting time, curbing costly traffic accidents and preventing the deaths of an estimated 585,000 lives in just one decade. 

“Our research finds that autonomous driving technology will enable a new passenger economy worth $7 trillion in 2050,” the report said. “It will drive change across a range of industries, displacing vehicle ownership with mobility-as-a service, and defining a new landscape of concierge and ride-hailing services, as well as pilotless vehicle options for businesses in industries like package delivery and long-haul transportation.”

It's important to note that Intel spent over $15 billion this year to buy Israeli self-driving technology company Mobileye and is working with BMW on self-driving cars as well. (See also: Intel Buys Mobileye for $15.3B)

Breaking Down the Savings

Mobility-as-a-service is forecast to generate just over half of the $7 trillion figure quoted. The study predicts that population growth in congested cities will cause people to flock to suburbs. This, together with rising traffic and regulation targeting emissions, is expected to yield a massive cultural shift, leading shared commuting to eventually take preference over individual vehicle ownership. (See also: I'm Going to Bet on Tesla: Apple Co-Founder Wozniak.)

During journeys in automated public trains, subways, and buses, the study envisions a future where people will be able to have dinner with friends, conduct business meetings, visit doctors and get their hair done. Revenues in industries, ranging from hotels, restaurants, entertainment and healthcare, are expected to surge as a result of the general public having much more available free time and money.

Transportation and freight delivery firms are also expected to be big beneficiaries of this technological change. The introduction of pilotless vehicle technology is forecast to revolutionize these industries, alleviating a number of current challenges, including a chronic shortage of drivers. (See also: The Unintended Consequences of Self-Driving Cars.)

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