Recent developments in the automotive industry indicate that semi-autonomous vehicles may be coming to market sooner than previously expected. In early September, General Motors announced that it will introduce a 2017 Cadillac model equipped with advanced driver assist technology – allowing drivers to travel at highway speeds without touching the steering wheel or pedals. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, stated that the company plans to introduce self-driving technology in the next 3 years with the new Model 3 electric sedan (due for release in 2017). Musk also gave some longer-term forecasts: “Full auto-pilot capability is going to happen, probably, in the 5- or 6-year time frame.” Additionally, Audi became the first company to receive the newly established autonomous driving permit, issued by the state of California. As discussed in earlier blogs by my colleague David Alexander, the United Kingdom, China, and South Korean company Hyundai have also been active in the autonomous vehicle space.
New Market Entrants
Israel-based technology company Mobileye has recently received considerable media attention and market interest for its advanced driver assistance technology. The company went public on August 6, 2014 at $25.00 per share. Since the IPO, Mobileye’s share price has more than doubled to $51.23 as of September 24. The company’s products are integrated into vehicle models from global automakers, including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan, and Volvo. Mobileye also works with several Tier One suppliers, including Autoliv, Delphi, Continental, Magna Electronics, and TRW Automotive.
Too Big to Ignore
Growing interest in autonomous vehicles can be attributed to the fact that the benefits of the technology are simply too large and far-reaching for policymakers, investors, and analysts to ignore. In the United States alone, 33,561 people died and about 2.36 million people were injured as a result of traffic accidents in 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The majority of all auto accidents (75% to 90%) are caused by driver error, distraction, or impairment. In theory, fully autonomous vehicle traffic would prevent nearly all of these driver-related accidents. Self-driving vehicle technology also has the potential to drastically reduce CO2 emissions, traffic congestion, and the stress of driving.
Navigant Research expects the global market for fully autonomous vehicles to average about 4.6% of new vehicle sales in 2025, rising to 40% in 2030 and reaching nearly 75% by 2035.
Tags: Autonomous Vehicles, Clean Transportation, Electric Vehicles, Smart Transportation Program
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