A new study exploring the impact of driverless cars on the US state of Tennessee has found that the rise of autonomous vehicles and a transition to electric vehicles will open new opportunities in the state and transform jobs, companies and potentially even industries. In doing so, their arrival is likely to reshape Tennessee's economy, tax revenue and everyday life, found the authors.
The study – Potential Impacts of Autonomous Vehicles on Tennessee's Economy – outlines the changes expected in the coming years and concludes that the state must change the way students and adults are trained and educated, rethink the way infrastructure is built and amend the regulations in place for vehicles. Nearly one in six jobs in the state is tied closely to the vehicle sector.
Study authors Bill Fox, director of the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research in the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and research associates Alex Norwood and Vickie Cunningham, noted that in 2017, more than 72,000 vehicle manufacturing jobs existed in Tennessee, including those in the vehicle assembly and automotive parts industries. However, found the study, many of these workers may lose their positions or have to transition to making different parts, as electric cars have fewer components.
Similarly, while today's vehicles typically derive their value from a mix of 90 percent hardware and 10 percent software, for autonomous vehicles this ratio could be closer to 60 percent software and 40 percent hardware, believe the authors.
Almost 119,000 Tennesseans work in vehicle support jobs at automobile dealerships, gas stations, auto repair shops and maintenance or tyre stores. The study found that nearly all employment in existing vehicle support industries and occupations will change drastically, because autonomous cars are more likely to be owned by fleets than by individuals.
“You would request a car, much like you do with a taxi or Uber now,” said Fox. “That means you’re not taking a car to the repair shop, you’re not filling it up with gas and you’re not budgeting for new tires. This shared mobility benefits Tennessean households, potentially saving them up to $5,000 per year.”