By Padmasree Warrior
CEO, NIO U.S.
Our vision at NIO U.S is to give people time back.
Autonomous electric cars will be here sooner than we think and they will save us time and perhaps even our lives.
Today cars are an epidemic. Over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year in the U.S. An additional 2.35 million are injured or disabled each year in the U.S. Sadly, car accidents are the leading cause of death for young lives between ages 5 to 24 in the U.S. By the way, majority of traffic related accidents are caused by human error. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get through our days without muttering to ourselves, “How on earth did that person get their driver’s license?”
The fact is that most humans in general aren’t great drivers. Mobile devices, traffic congestion and demanding jobs are serious distractions to all of us as drivers. With the increased pace of urbanization this will only become worse. One way to improve this, is with autonomous cars that use sensors and advance mapping techniques to move people safely and efficiently. It may sound like science fiction, but the technology that enables autonomous cars is already here. Sure it will take time for consumers and regulators to catch up but I have no doubt that we will see progress in the next few years.
Not only will autonomous cars keep us safe, they will reduce stress and make us productive. In 2015 alone, Americans wasted 8 billion hours stuck in traffic. Between 2013 to 2030 the cumulative direct and indirect cost of congestion in the U.S. will be the highest in the world at $2.8 trillion. The average commuter in the U.S. loses 42 hours a year due to congested roads. And, get this… research suggests there is a 40% increase in divorce rate if one spouse’s commute is 45+ minutes each day. Not only can autonomous cars save time and lives, they may even save marriages!
Few weeks back in Austin, Texas during the South by Southwest conference, I shared NIO’s vision and plans for delivering autonomous electric vehicles to consumers in the United States in 2020.
With NIO autonomous electric vehicles, you get the time back to be everything you want to be. So no more wasting your time or forcing you to become a driver.
We will bring you a personalized living space that moves you, so that you may be as productive as you are at your desk, or relax as you like in your living room. As the car drives itself, you can hop on a work related video call or catch up on those episodes of “Westworld” you missed. The vehicle’s interior can be personalized for commute, road trip or even a nap. The car’s AI system will know your calendar, destination, your preferences and it will adjust to your needs. Yes, you may actually look forward to your commutes.
As an electric vehicle, NIO will be part of our collective, environmental solution to leave the planet better than we found it. Air pollution currently causes 3 million premature deaths globally every year. This is not just an India or China problem. It affects all of us no matter where we live. The U.S. is first in oil consumption and second in carbon emissions in the world. Motor vehicles collectively cause 75% of carbon monoxide pollution in the U.S. We have the technology to cut these emissions and help us all breath cleaner air.
Fewer deaths, cleaner air and more time isn’t just a dream anymore, it will be our reality.
Plan to visit this blog often. We’ll share our vision, experiences and thoughts around the future of autonomy.