According to a study from Research and Markets, Autonomous vehicles are poised to invoke a revolution in the automobile industry. The adoption during the next years will affect public transportation systems, car rental and sharing systems, vehicle leasing and ownership, industrial transportation, and automotive insurance practices and systems.
Earlier this week, Nvidia has launched NVIDIA DRIVE Map, a new mapping platform that will provide the autonomous vehicle industry with ground truth mapping coverage of over 300,000 miles of roadway. The platform is designed to enable the highest levels of autonomy while improving safety. It combines the accuracy of DeepMap survey mapping with the freshness and scale of AI-based crowdsourced mapping.
The extent of disruption will increase with the degree of vehicle autonomy, which is measured in levels from zero (fully human operated) to five (fully automated system) with the evolution from levels 1 through 4 consisting of an autopilot system combined with some level of human control or intervention capability. Autonomous vehicles are anticipated to become the foundation of transportation as a service globally.
The automotive ecosystem is also faced with disruption from electric vehicles (EV), which has transformed supply chain economics at the vehicle component level as well as consumer value perception and lifecycle management. Improvements in battery cost/performance and reduction in the cost of power train components for EV will lead to lower overall purchase cost that is more comparable with traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
The autonomous vehicle ecosystem will also be highly disruptive with respect to the consumer segment regarding the traditional production and sales cycle. This will be due largely to the vast amount of data produced by self-driving cars, vans, and trucks. The use of AI and big data analytics will allow both real-time decision-making as well as post-event analytics.
Autonomous Vehicle Growth Factors and Constraints
The autonomous vehicle market will grow rapidly during the 2020s and will transform many industries including consumer mobility, commercial transport, industrial automation, smart cities, and transportation systems as a whole. There are many factors that will drive the growth and adoption of autonomous vehicles including cost reduction, safety improvements, and incremental advances in consumer perception.
For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation has moved forward with an Automated Vehicles Comprehensive Plan with the intention of establishing policies and regulations to ensure the safe and full integration of automated driving systems into the surface transportation system. The plan includes real-world examples of how policies and regulations will relate to emerging automated driving systems applications.
The United States is not alone in the push for a robust autonomous vehicle market. China and South Korea are two leading companies in the Asia Pacific region. For example, South Korea invested $1 billion in autonomous vehicle technology with a focus on technology and infrastructure development. Companies such as Hyundai and Samsung allow South Korea to implement vehicles more seamlessly with autonomous capabilities. South Korea desires to achieve the commercialization of level 4 autonomous vehicles by 2027.
In addition to overcoming public trust factors relative to safety, the autonomous vehicle market is also focused on the major consumer upsides to self-driving vehicles, which include less expensive transport, opportunities for ride-sharing and fractional ownership, and ultimately reduced outright leasing and ownership of cars, vans, and trucks. This is anticipated to have a major impact on OEMs and traditional automakers, despite the fact that market-leading automobile manufacturers are aggressively pursuing autonomous vehicle product offerings.
The above-mentioned market forces, availability of cost-effective and safe technology, and appropriate governmental oversight are all key factors coming together to enable a robust autonomous vehicle ecosystem. Accordingly, the autonomous vehicle market is beginning to move into the next market cycle beyond the early-adopter phase. The estimates indicate end-users will not fully embrace self-driving vehicles until the 2027 time-frame.
The Juxtaposition of Fully Autonomous Vehicles, Connected Drivers and Passengers
Paradoxically, automotive vendors are also continuously upgrading their fleets to offer more connected vehicles, which provide drivers with a substantially more safe, enjoyable, and informative driving experience. However, autonomous vehicles are also connected via IoT technologies and various broadband and narrowband wireless solutions.
In the near future, the publisher anticipates that automobile vendors will offer next-generation connected vehicle apps to human occupants within autonomous vehicles that capitalize upon hands-free operation, and in some cases, offer fully immersive experiences for longer trips.
Autonomous Vehicles for Commercial Fleets and other Business Operations
The evolution of self-driving vehicles for the fleet market will be human controlled fleets to machine/human-controlled fleets to completely autonomous (e.g. machine-driven) vehicles that leverage various technologies including sensors, AI, cognitive computing, geo-fencing, GIS/mapping, and more. Ultimately, the market will achieve level 4 autonomy, which is similar to level 3, but the human behind the wheel is considered to be a “passenger” rather than a “driver.”
Market-leading autonomous vehicle use cases will be found primarily within the business realm with an emphasis on shipping and commercial fleets. Important within this segment is heavy haul trucking, which refers to the transport of oversize or overweight freight equipped with specialized trailers and transporting heavy equipment.