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The world's self-driving cars, in photos
In the race to build the world’s best self-driving car, traditional automakers like Toyota and Ford are being joined by tech companies like Google, Baidu, and even (it’s rumored) Apple. This will have a major impact on businesses and professionals. Companies could use automated vehicles to replace corporate fleets for last-mile deliveries or transporting employees. Professionals could gain productive hours in the day by working instead of driving during their daily commute. And it is poised to drastically alter the car insurance industry by substantially lowering accidents on the roadu2013u2013a new report predicts that accidents will drop by 80% by 2040.
Check out TechRepublic’s photo gallery for an insider’s peek into the autonomous cars of the future, which will be powered by artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing. We’ll update this gallery as new models emerge.
Ford tests its Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle at Mcity, part of the University of Michigan, which is a 32-acre testing ground meant to simulate real-world urban environments. At CES 2016, Ford stated that it will ramp up its fleet of autonomous testing vehicles from 10 to 30 by the middle of 2016, giving it the largest fleet of self-driving cars among the major auto automakers. It expects to have fully-autonomous vehicles on the road by 2020.
In the spring of 2015, a 2014 Audi SQ5, powered with technology from Delphi, made it all the way from coast to coast, driving itself. Due on the market by 2019, Audi’s A8 sedan will be its first production vehicle with autonomous driving technology.
Kia Motors just announced its plan to invest $2 billion into automated car research by 2018. It expects to release its fully-autonomous car by 2030, but plans to have a semi-autonomous version available by 2020.
Toyota plans to have its self-driving car out by 2020, as well. It’s been testing modified Lexus GS as well as their own hybrid self-driving vehicles on the road. They’ve also announced a $1 billion investment into AI that will help fund autonomous car research.
GM has invested $500 million into Lyft, the car-sharing service, to work together in developing self-driving cars. It plans to start putting autonomous driving technology in its Chevy Volts at the Detroit testing site sometime in 2016.
Mercedes-Benz has been testing autonomous driving in Nevada. It plans to unveil the 2017 E-Class semi-autonomous vehicle, which can get up to 130 MPH, in the summer of 2016.
Nissan, the Japanese automaker, also plans to have its fully-autonomous models out by 2020. Here it’s testing the Leaf, an all-electric vehicle.
German carmaker VW recently announced a partnership with Mobileye, the same company used by Tesla for high-tech cameras that enable automated driving. VW has an Electronics Research Laboratory that researches autonomous driving and has been working with Stanford University for more than 10 years to test driverless technology. In the summer of 2015, a VW Passat drove 1500 miles through Mexico.
Japanese automaker Honda, which has been approved in California to have autonomous cars out on the streets, is using advanced driver-assistance systems across its Honda and Acura models and plans to have semi-autonomous cars on the road by 2020.
Volvo, the Swedish car maker, currently has a semi-autonomous drive option in their XC90 model. And it will also be available in the recently unveiled S90 as well. By 2017, they plan to have 100 semi-autonomous Volvos out on the public roads.
Bosch, the German manufacturer, has been testing automated driving features on BMW 3 Series vehicles in California and Michigan. They plan to unveil the technology to make “highly automated cars” possible by 2020 and the technology for a fully-autonomous model sometime after 2025.
Baidu, the Chinese search engine, tests out a modified BMW 3-Series. The fully-autonomous car drove 18.6 miles route around the streets and highways of Beijing, making all kinds of turns, switching lanes, passing, and even successfully merging onto and off the highway. It plans to release self-driving cars within three years.
According to Elon Musk, Apple’s plan for developing an autonomous car (dubbed “Project Titan”) is an “open secret.” What we do know is that Apple has purchased a 2100-acre testing ground, and according to The Wall Street Journal, plans to ship electric cars by 2019.