There are great expectations around the future of autonomous vehicles (AVs) and equally much uncertainty. Some believe that AVs will transform safety and efficiency and are making significant investments in this area. Others are concerned that the technological developments are outpacing society’s ability to adapt, and there is an urgent requirement to develop better regulation before there is widespread deployment. A global Open Foresight project exploring the key issues for the future of AVs is being undertaken by Future Agenda. Expert workshops around the world are building the informed view. This project was kicked-off with a global review of the emerging landscape for autonomous vehicles. As well looking at the historical context for self-driving cars and trucks, this initial perspective explores the benefits of AVs; different issues for the movement of people vs. goods; the three primary drivers of adoption and the primary centres for innovation. It also includes commentary on the parallel developments in seaborne and air-based autonomous vehicles. It ends with some of the key questions to be explored by the project.