Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business


School of Business

First Advisor

Dr Angel Wright


The pace of technology development and innovation is accelerating. The impact of new innovations becomes more and more disruptive, enriching but also challenging peoples' concept of life and the perception of the world. Social and economic implications of new innovations cause rapid and deep shifts in the existing paradigms. The number of tasks, at which machines exceed human capabilities is growing rapidly. Computers analyse medical images, make financial decisions and drive vehicles better than humans. This study is aimed to understand the disruptive nature of self-driving cars and explore the possible socio-economic outcomes that this innovation is expected to bring. To achieve this goal, a qualitative research has been conducted based on the contribution from eleven experts in the field. The interviewees' insightful opinions and personal experiences were captured by conducting the in depth interviews, and analysed in an effort to uncover possible adoption scenarios and other problematic issues associated with autonomous vehicles. A significant finding from this study is that the available theory limits disruptive innovations to the technology and business space only, and does not take into account the potential for a much broader scope. Powerful and fast innovations can deliver social transformations and autonomous vehicles are certainly one of that kind. This research also found that fully autonomous vehicles completely change the foundations of mobility, with the automotive and insurance sectors expected to absorb the burden of such shift. This study also revealed that, although self-driving cars will make movement of people much safer than it is today, jobs' automation and dealing with ever-growing wealth inequality will put a strain on the social system and test humans' ability to adapt to new conditions. This work will be of direct interest to policymakers, planning bodies and business practitioners who are at risk of omitting autonomous vehicles from their strategic planning. This study can also serve as a guide to other more focused studies in a national or regional contexts.

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