50 percent of vehicles will be driverless within 5 years, DU professors say

DENVER -- Half of all vehicles on the road could be driverless within five years, according to University of Denver professors leading the charge of the new industry.

Two professors from DU will be hosting a conference at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in December on the impact of driverless mobility. They'll host another one at DU in May.

The professors say all the big players in the technology and vehicle industries are going all in with numbers in the billions.

Uber recently expanded its driverless car push with a deal for 24,000 Volvos.

The cars could include things such as a small luxury room with a table or refreshments. And it could be more common within five years.

“It’s not only realistic, it’s here," said Mark Levine, one of the DU professors. "I think the time frame will be over 50 percent within five years."

Driverless cars are already being tested in cities around the country. Test drives have shown that millions of miles have been driven without one accident.

About a year ago, the Otto Budweiser beer truck traveled some 120 miles from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, setting a Guinness world record.

With the success of driverless vehicles so far, it's possible the vehicle you own now could be the last one you ever own.

The idea is you would use an app to order a car, it’ll come pick you up and drive you where you need to go.

Studies show that a car sits 95 percent of the time, so you're paying a big monthly payment for something you use 5 percent of the time.

So most people wouldn't own a car and potentially save around $8,000 to 12,000 per year.

However, there's still a lot of questions to answer about the impacts of driverless vehicles.

There’s an issue of cybersecurity and if it’s possible for the vehicles to be hacked. There’s also economic impacts on vehicle and insurance industries.

It could also impact real estate because it would eliminate the need for parking garages.

And, most important, you’ll be able to be more productive on your ride to work because you’ll be able to check email, text and start your workday earlier -- if that’s something you’re into.

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