As the world races toward a driverless future—with one in 10 vehicles predicted to be autonomous by 2030—the tech required to make such vehicles a safe option has become the primary focus for technology companies and automakers.
A new report, Worldwide Autonomous Vehicle Forecast, 2020-2024 from the International Data Corporation (IDC) finds that vehicles with Level 1 autonomy will jump to 54.2 million in 2024 from 31.4 million in 2019, showing a compound growth rate of 11.5% over the five-year period.
(Level 1 means the driver controls most functions, but is assisted by automatic steering or accelerating, for instance. Here’s a quick refresher on the different levels of autonomous driving).
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During this period, Level 0 cars—now the most common type—will decline, in favor of vehicles autonomous functionality, partly as a result of the rise of tech-enabled driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and regulation measures that account for the growth of the autonomous vehicle industry.
According to the report, “vehicles with some degree of automation (SAE Levels 1-5) will represent more than 50% of all vehicles produced by 2024.”
Level 1 and 2 vehicles will see the greatest growth, in part because they are expected to draw the greatest investments during this period. These two levels are also a more comfortable option for those fearful of the risks of autonomous vehicles, and seen as a safer bet for manufacturers and regulators.
Level 3 technology, in which the driver will only intervene when necessary, is expected to grow as well, especially in high-speed and low-speed highway driving. Vehicles in the more fully autonomous range, Levels 4 and 5, are still considered to be a long-term goal, and depend on a variety of factors, including advanced technology, public trust (a key component), and government regulation.
Given these important considerations, “IDC does not expect any SAE Level 5 vehicles to be available worldwide during the forecast period,” according to the report. Highly automated vehicles (Level 3-5) are forecasted to grow to more than 850,000 units by 2024.
“The pathway to increased vehicle autonomy will be largely built on gradual feature and capability advancements,” said Matt Arcaro, research manager, Next-Generation Automotive and Transportation Strategies at IDC in the release.
“Although SAE Level 4, full self-driving vehicles will capture media headlines and will deliver tremendous value to society, the impact of SAE Levels 1 and 2 vehicle growth over the forecast period remains too large to be ignored.”
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