Self-driving cars are a shared ambition among Google, Tesla, Apple, Uber and Lyft, among other automotive, tech and ridesharing companies. For Uber and Lyft specifically, it's a matter of cutting costs. However, fiscal expediency is not the main benefit of this emerging technology. Roughly 94 percent of traffic accidents are caused by human error, and to many, autonomous vehicles (AVs) seem to be our only path toward lessening related fatalities. In addition, driverless cars have other benefits, such as lower fuel consumption, lower CO2 emissions and a reduction in congestion. Here are the main ways they stand to change our lives and carve out a lane in the consumer marketplace, as well as the challenges this fledgling sector will need to overcome.

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