Expert says kids today may never drive a car

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Self-driving car technology has quickly become one of the most talked-about advancements in the automotive industry.

Manufacturers such as Tesla and Mercedes-Benz have been pushing forward with semi-autonomous features in their production cars, while technology giants such as Google and Apple have been experimenting with their own self-driving vehicles.

With so much time and money being invested in these advancements, many technology and car industry experts have been speculating about when fully autonomous vehicles will replace traditional cars.

Henrik Christensen, head of UC San Diego's Contextual Robotics Institute, is the latest person to throw a theory into the mix.

Speaking to The San Diego Union-Tribune, he said: "My own prediction is that kids born today will never get to drive a car.

"Autonomous, driverless cars are 10, 15 years out. All the automotive companies — Daimler, GM, Ford — are saying that within five years they will have autonomous, driverless cars on the road.

"I love to drive my car, but it's a question of how much time people waste sitting in traffic and not doing something else. The average person in San Diego probably spends an hour commuting every day. If they could become more productive, that would be good.

"With autonomous, driverless cars, we can put twice as many vehicles on the road as we have today, and do it without improving the infrastructure."

He also echoed predictions from Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Lyft co-founder John Zimmer that the current car ownership model is set to change. He predicts that in about 20 years, a car will be a service people call on when they need it rather than something they own.