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The new road to the future: The benefits of autonomous vehicles in Australia

Realise the benefits of autonomous vehicles in Australia; learn what capabilities they may need to develop to benefit from this disruptive new technology.


The era of the autonomous vehicle is here. According to industry estimates, by 2020, the autonomous vehicle market will be worth US$87 billion. Furthermore, by 2040, it is predicted that four out of every 10 vehicles on the road will be autonomous.

Autonomous vehicles will open up new opportunities and create an impetus for innovation for organisations from across a wide range of industries–globally and in Australia specifically.

Accenture Digital Australia and New Zealand has launched this report to help Australian companies move ahead of the curve with autonomous vehicles. The report encourages organisations and whole industry sectors to seek to understand the opportunities–and potential impact–of automation and learn what capabilities they may need to develop to benefit from this disruptive new technology.


Once just a fictional vision in movies such as Total Recall, the era of autonomous vehicles is now upon us. Organisations as varied as Google, Mercedes-Benz and Stanford University are exploring and harnessing the power of driverless vehicles to enhance their operations and deliver new services to consumers. Moreover, Australia is at the centre of this technological revolution.

For instance, Rio Tinto is using driverless vehicles to move millions of tonnes of mining material in the Pilbara in Western Australia. The University of New South Wales and the car-sharing service GoGet, are working together to develop self-driving cars, tailored for the local market. In addition, research from Curtin University in Western Australia points to driverless cars being within the average Australian’s price range in a decade.

However, companies and organisations in Australia should be doing more to prepare for the arrival of autonomous vehicles because they are expected to be a highly disruptive force–one that will have a significant impact, far beyond automotive companies and suppliers.

Key Findings

Autonomous vehicles will open up new opportunities and create an impetus for innovation among organisations from a wide range of industries—globally and within Australia specifically.

  1. Original Equipment Manufacturers
    Is this a new dawn for car companies? Car makers shift from just making vehicles to delivering cutting-edge services. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will need to work closely with providers of hardware, software and research and development.

  2. Mobile Services and Technology Suppliers
    Will mobile and software companies be the big winners from driverless vehicles? Autonomous vehicles could increase data consumption patterns. There are also opportunities for technology providers, app development, big data, cloud and IT.

  3. Energy Providers
    Could cars become off-grid energy suppliers? This technology may reduce demand for certain types of energy and create opportunities to deliver energy. Energy providers need to consider ways to use alternate energy.

  1. Financial Services
    Could autonomous vehicles reinvent the way you own cars and complete transactions? Autonomous vehicles can expand consumers’ access to banking, using the car to pay for fuel and tolls. These vehicles may also radically reshape the insurance industry.

  2. Government and Transportation Services
    Will autonomous vehicles drive the development of modern cities? Autonomous vehicles could improve city and transportation planning. These vehicles can collect road and traffic data, providing key information for authorities.

  3. Healthcare
    What if ambulances could predict where accidents were likely to happen and redirect traffic to get there faster? Emergency services working with analytics providers could improve response while potentially lowering costs.


To help build and take advantage of an integrated autonomous vehicle platform, Australian companies have a range of options at their disposal. The diagram below illustrates how Australian companies could prepare for the autonomous vehicle era.

Autonomous vehicles have profound implications for businesses in a range of sectors in Australia, from vehicle and parts manufacturers and telecommunication providers to transport groups, energy companies and financial services players. The good news is that with its low density, advanced technology and track record of innovation, Australia is well positioned to be a global pioneer in this area. In our view, no one sector could single-handedly deliver or profit from autonomous vehicles. Instead, the key will lie in collaboration, strategic partnerships, industry leadership and government support. With the uptake of this technology already gathering pace around the world, it’s time to act.