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Tesla (TSLA), Google (GOOGL), General Motors (GM): Autonomous Cars Can Save $642Bn A Year

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) may still be a long way away from having self-driving or autonomous cars as normal sights on our communities’ roads but an editorial by Adam Ozimek for Forbes says that there will be massive savings in terms of money and lives if these vehicles do improve the state of the car industry.

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So significant will be the impact of autonomous cars from car makers like Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) that Ozimek estimates that $276 billion will be saved by these types of cars every year in terms of lives saved alone.

How Ozimek come up with this estimate?

According to him, “The official value of a statistical life used by the Department of Transportation is $9.2 million, so if autonomous cars can save 30,000 lives a year this is a yearly benefit of $276 billion.”

Furthermore, the figure burgeons when the estimated $41 billion in medical and work loss cost, a figure the CDC estimated to be linked to deadly car crashes in 2005, is added. This brings the total to $317 billion of potential savings if autonomous cars from Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) or General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) would ever be successful at preventing car crashes on our roads.

That’s in the U.S. alone. According to Ozimek, there were 30,800 fatalities from deadly car crashes in 2012.

“It may be true that for emotional reasons voters will nevertheless find this unacceptable, but that’s no excuse for people rationally discussing costs and benefits to wave away the potential life savings of a highly imperfect autonomous car,” he said.

Aside from the savings in lives, non-fatal crash savings and time savings are estimated to be as big as $226 billion and $99 billion respectively. This sums up to a total of $642 billion every single year.

“These are extremely conservative back of the envelope calculations, and it misses a lot of important benefits like senior citizens who currently can’t drive at all right now, and the cost savings to households who gain much cheaper access to cars by renting them by the hour. But even leaving all those benefits out, $642 billion is a really, really big deal,” Ozimek wrote.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), already the maker of one of the world’s most fuel-efficient cars, said recently that autonomous cars will be ready in about five years. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has long been experimenting with driverless cars. Furthermore, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) has recently also made a major step toward driverless cars.

By June 30, John Thaler’s Jat Capital Management reported owning 948,778 Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) shares. Also by that same date, Boykin Curry’s Eagle Capital Management reported owning 791,934 Class A Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) shares. General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) shareholders includes Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway which reported by the end of the second quarter that it owned about 32.96 million shares of the company.