More and more companies are joining the race to develop truly autonomous vehicles, and these are not just limited to traditional car manufacturers. Tech companies like Google, and even vacuum cleaner brand Dyson, are spending millions of dollars researching and developing technology that facilitates self-driving cars. There are plenty of benefits, from potentially reducing the number of cars on the road to reducing the number of accidents and fatalities. But here are three you may not have thought of.

Cheaper monthly payments and insurance

If you own or lease a car, it’s likely to be one of your most expensive considerations every month. With ride-sharing set to become more popular with the rise of self-driving cars, you may need to pay a monthly subscription but this should be far less than traditional finance payments. Many will be electric, so will need less regular servicing and will be cheaper to recharge than filling up a petrol or diesel car. Also, autonomous vehicles will, in theory, collide with each other far less often. It’s thought that 94% of accidents are caused by human error or behaviour. Crashes push your insurance up, so self-driving vehicles could save you money here too.

Make parking a thing of the past

Think about all the hours spent commuting, and whether that time could be spent more productively. You could start work as soon as you get in the car, which might mean you can spend less time in the office and more time with your family. This is speculative, as some employers might make you work for longer. However, we also spend plenty of time parking and walking to destinations. An autonomous car could drop you at your destination, then drive off by itself to find a suitable space. This would save many hours over the course of a year.

Independence for more people

Self-driving vehicles will provide far greater independence than current cars, allowing more people to stay mobile and able to socialise. Blind people or the elderly may not need any assistance to get to destinations once we enter the age of autonomous cars.

There are issues and hurdles to address before autonomous cars become mainstream. But we might be on the cusp of self-driving vehicles – however, are we ready for them?