Do Self-Driving Cars Have A Future In South Africa?

The pessimists among us will likely say no, followed by a mumbling “taxi drivers would have a thing or two to say about that”. But many amongst us are hopeful, positive even! Could you imagine self-driving cars zooming about Andries Potgieter Boulevard?

According to the Automotive Future Now Report, a document outlining the study fielded by Innovation Group South Africa, self-driving cars most definitely have a place in the South African society. Here’s a couple of reasons why:

  1. Africa is the globe’s ‘last market’. It’s where small businesses can grow, and with such unlimited expansion, there is more than enough room for facilitative policy and business that will allow driverless cars to roam the streets.
  2. The up-and-coming generation (that’s you and me and anyone born post-1990) views transportation as an integral part of digital technology. That means we’re unlikely to differentiate between the two once digital technology and transportation successfully fuse. We’ve already seen the impact of Uber on the market within the country.
  3. Vehicle sales within South Africa are booming, and people are becoming more concerned about service, quality, and support than just the brand name. That means that cars like Hyundai are becoming ‘healthier’ buying options when compared to the German bigwigs (that means Audi, BMW and Wabenzi). This makes self-driving car manufacturers eager to get involved!

There are a few limitations, though. Of course, South Africa is leagues behind Europe and the USA in terms of digital technology and its cohesion with society. Of America’s 319 million people, close to 90% use the internet daily, while South Africa only has around 30 million internet users. Unfortunately, because these statistics make the country seem technologically bankrupt, South Africa will have to wait a little longer for self-driving cars. Innovation Group considers it a +-20 year wait until the day.

Until then, we’re offered ample opportunity to get the taxi associations involved, maybe collaborating with them to help facilitate the introduction of self-driving taxis in the country. Who knows, this may just promote taxi drivers to the role of taxi hosts, collecting fees and serving drinks.

If you want to be involved in the technological evolution occurring in South Africa, make sure you find out more information about our IT and Engineering Postgraduate Academic Programmes today!