The global market for autonomous vehicles is zooming ahead at full speed, spurring a race to develop the best technology for the cars, inspiring collaborations between technology companies and automakers, and pushing countries across the globe to develop and implement regulation measures.
While they are still not quite ready for public deployment, autonomous vehicles have come a long way since Waymo (owned by Alphabet) began testing driverless technology back in 2009—and in 2016, when the US DOT officially recognized the AI powering Google’s self-driving car as a “driver.”
According to a new report from Statista, expect to see one in 10 cars to be fully automated by 2030—bumping up the total contribution to the US economy to $13.7 billion.
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Where and how will they be deployed? According to the report, robo-taxis will comprise a significant chunk of the market, and are predicted to contribute roughly $1.2 trillion. (For example, General Motors (GM) has plans to launch a driverless-taxi service called “Cruise,” which received funding of $3.4 billion in 2018).
The report states that companies are spending billions on R&D toward driverless taxi technology—$27.5 billion in 2018 alone.
There are obstacles to the adoption of autonomous vehicles, of course. One factor is the willingness of consumers to trust these vehicles. Another is the maturity of self-driving technology—navigating in difficult weather, for instance, has been an obstacle for autonomous vehicles to overcome.
And cybersecurity is a primary concern: According to the report, nearly 80% of drivers do not trust autonomous vehicles to offer enough security, and “more than 70% of consumers do not think driverless vehicle systems will be safe from hackers.”
Automakers are feeling the pressure to quickly adopt driverless technology, and are investing significant funds into employee training and research—GM, for instance, is spending a lot to get on board, according to the report.
The report also outlines the growth of global demand for Advanced Driving (AD) and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)—which it predicts to grow more than sixfold by 2025. (Here’s more on what the different levels of autonomous driving mean).
The market for automotive semiconductors and sensors, the critical tools that can help the vehicles navigate obstacles, is also expected to grow.
California, Beijing, China, and Hamburg, Germany, are active sites for autonomous vehicle testing, according to the report, and there should be autonomous public transportation in Hamburg by 2021.
In 2019, companies like Uber, Apple, Toyota, Waymo, and GM accumulated more than two million total miles of testing—still, there were more than 145,402 disengagements—meaning times when the autonomous systems couldn’t handle the driving situation.
The next decade promises to bring major advances to autonomous driving technology, with a mix of robot drivers alongside humans by 2030.