I often write about how technology is upending many different industries. One of the biggest issues today is that one company can affect a variety of industries with their breakthroughs. Hence, competition is no longer just the company that is across the street that was battled for decades.
Tesla is a disruptive force, not only in the auto industry but many others.
Here is a list, off the top of my head, of industries that are going to be affected by this company's foray into electric, autonomous vehicles. Naturally, this is not the only company in this arena yet it is one of the leaders.
Traditional Car Companies
This one is rather obvious. Traditional car companies are ICE makers. They did very well over the decades with that technology and having manufacturing of them down to an art.
Electric is a different animal. Adding the battery component means entering a different realm. With technology that has diminishing costs, profit margins are going to be a concern.
We can expect some companies to go out of business simply due to the fact the automation will mean less cars sold each year.
Since 70% of all petroleum in the United States goes into vehicles, it stands to reason that a large shift to electric will decimate the oil business. While it is going to take some time to filter through all the ICE on the road, the starting point is already here. Unless sales of EVs start to drop, a bigger chunk of yearly sales will be converted. This means that oil usage will go down once the switch outpaces additional cars added.
It is estimated that half the visits to emergency rooms are automobile related. There are 40,000 deaths on American highways each year (1 million globally) with untold others who suffer injuries. Autonomous vehicles are going to be safer than human counterparts reducing the number of accidents.
This means that a lot of those emergency situations are removed. At the same time, the post emergency car such as pain management and physical therapy see a decrease in business.
Along the same lines as medical, how many attorneys are "ambulance chasers". Personal injury is big business and more than 80% is vehicle related. At the same time, we are going to see the decreased need in the court and policing system. No more DUIs, driving without a license, or speeding tickets. A lot of this will disappear once vehicles on the road are autonomous.
Autonomous vehicles mean ridesharing. People are going to be able, in many areas, call up the vehicle with an app. This means there will be a lot of fleets out there, providing transportation as a service.
With auto accidents reduced down and fleets of cars on the road, insurance is mostly eliminated. There might be some liability for a select few but the bigger outfits will self insure.
Go on vacation and what do most people do? Rent a car.
This will no longer be the case. Car ownership is going to disappear so being on vacation will be like being home. Simply call up a ride and get to where you are going. If there are millions of autonomous vehicles on the road, there will be no problem getting one.
In major cities, having a parking lot is a major business. With real estate being so tight, finding a place to part is a nightmare. It is also a costly endeavor.
If cars are able to bring people to their destination, drop them off, and then leave, this eliminates this type of business.
At the same time, asphalt companies are seriously reduced since commercial structures will be built without the need for major parking lots. If nobody is parking a car at work or the mall, no need to pave a huge field.
Short hop flights will be a thing of the past.
Today, we see people getting on an airplane to travel a few hundred miles. When the time is all factored together, an autonomous vehicle will allow for similar experience since other things can be done other than driving.
At some point, our cars will not look like today but, rather, be something like traveling pods. This will allow for people to sleep and do work similar to what they do on railcars.
These are just a few industries that could be disrupted over the next couple decades as electric and autonomy enter the transportation business. Tesla is one of the leaders in these fields. It is difficult to guess where things stand but many believe they have a large lead on everyone else.
Either way, over the next 5 years, the gap will tighten. Other companies are going to get hold of these technologies. Once they do, we can see millions of cars going out that are going to take all these industries apart.
This is a prime example of how many things can be changed by a breakthrough in one field. How much of this pans out remains to be seen yet there are many companies that need to be paying attention to this.
As an investor, it is best to be mindful of what is causing mayhem and where. A car company, as we can see here, can suddenly affect a lot of other areas other than just automobile related industries.
Tesla is a disruptive force for this reason. There are other companies out there seeking to do the same thing. It is best to be on alert for this situations.
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