Autonomous Vehicles – A Market with Enormous Potential

  • Published | 02 February 2022

Autonomous VehiclesAn unmanned (autonomous) vehicle is a vehicle that uses a combination of sensors, cameras, radar, and artificial intelligence (AI) to move between destinations without an operator. A Vehicles are considered completely self-driven or autonomous if they travel without human intervention to a prearranged destination on roads.

Autonomous driving sounded ambiguous seven years ago, but is now a reality. A variety of industries use autonomous vehicles, including farming, inventory management, and construction. Uber, Tesla, and Mercedes-Benz are also experimenting with autonomous driving technologies in city buses and semi-trailers. Many scientists believe that self-driving cars would save USD 1 trillion and reduce the number of fatal road accidents by 70%. For instance, Audi management stated that using only the emergency braking system in cars reduced the number of injuries by 38%.

Major automakers in the U.S., China, Japan, and Europe are actively moving towards the creation of self-driving cars. With all the fierce competition in the automotive market, companies are merging to reduce the cost of technology for the end consumer. For instance, Waymo initially implemented lidar at a cost of USD 80,000 per car, but now the costs have dropped to USD 50,000. While lidar has been marketed as radar imaging, better technologies are already available, prompting the company to lower the price.

A Potential Market of Autonomous Vehicle with Enormous Growth

As per experts, the autonomous vehicle market is poised to grow at a positive growth rate in the coming years. For instance, according to BlueWeave Consulting, the global autonomous vehicle market is expected to reach USD 52.4 billion in 2027 at an impressive 14.5% CAGR during the forecast period (2021-2027). Government programs and legislation supporting self-driving technology are driving demand for self-driving cars. Government authorities are also actively working with car developers to accelerate the development of the self-driving car industry. Additionally, extensive R&D activities pertaining to autonomous driving technologies and growing investments in the automotive technology sector are contributing to the growth of the global autonomous vehicle market. Also, tech giants and automakers are over-investing in the technology to accelerate the development of autonomous vehicles, thereby propelling the growth of the market.

Moreover, large manufacturers are buying up startups to own not only the ideas, but also the talent behind them; thus, IT jobs are expected to grow in the automotive sector. In a recent report, experts point out that intelligent transportation systems, mapping software, and company universalization are receiving increasing attention from traditional automakers. For instance, in the past few years, Toyota has invested in Uber Technologies Inc., General Motors has acquired a stake in Lyft Inc., and Volkswagen has invested USD 300 million in Gett.

COVID-19 and Its Impact on the Semiconductor Industry and Autonomous Vehicles

The automotive industry is the stronghold of the global economy. Over the past 12-18 months from 2019 to 2020, the automotive industry has seen a considerable slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Setbacks in global auto demand are due to many factors, including factory closures, government sanctions, supply chain disruptions, and shutdowns in many countries. In addition, the global supply of auto parts has been disrupted due to restrictions on import and export activities in several countries.

Sales of New Vehicles – All Types (In Million Units)

Sales of New Vehicles

A COVID-19 catastrophe could hinder progress of next-generation technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, as automakers and investors pull back major funding to focus on ongoing cash management issues. For example, autonomous vehicle testing may be put on hold. Investment in micro mobility and shared mobility providers is also expected to decline - driving market consolidation. Also, bigger players with greater cash reserves may have the best chance of survival and success. However, as soon as the initial crisis subsides, the demand for these solutions is predicted to skyrocket, increasing their appeal to investors.

The Significance of Regulations for Autonomous Vehicle Supervision

Autonomous cars are developing rapidly, but the biggest obstacle appears to be developing a legal framework that allows them to function. Most jurisdictions realize that these technologies need to be approved before they can be included in local legislation. It is encouraging to see more and more autonomous vehicles on the roads in several jurisdictions. Here are some notable milestones in autonomous vehicle-related legislation. The Japanese government, for instance, released its official guidance on autonomous vehicles in 2018 and in 2020, among several vehicle and traffic laws, such as the Road Freight Vehicles Act and the Road Traffic Act. These acts were amended to allow autonomous vehicles to be used, provided that they meet the requirements specified by the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Additionally, in 2019, in the U.S. California state, the California Public Utilities Commission approved Waymo, an American self-driving technology development company, to commercialize driverless cars as passenger vehicles, a major step toward opening up regulatory pathways for driverless car operations.

A new generation of technologies is paving the way for autonomous vehicles; namely, motion planning, navigation technology, trajectory control, and positioning technology.

Navigation and mapping technologies offer huge future possibilities for self-driving cars. These advanced technologies can successfully navigate a car from source to destination. Self-driving cars require improved maps and upgraded navigation algorithms. Fully automated or driverless vehicles will not be able to navigate using meter-resolution maps that rely on GPS. They need high-definition maps that can notify road obstacles. Additionally, accuracy is extremely important for driving driverless cars on public roads. Environmental sensing, combined with vehicle dynamic control, is an important parameter integrated for advanced reliability and safety in autonomous vehicles.

New and potential opportunities to come in the coming years

The biggest benefit of self-driving cars may be safety, but there are more business opportunities and disruptions ahead. In the near future, with the advent of complete self-driving capabilities, car owners would simply program and rent their vehicles to pick up packages or passengers at designated locations while letting AI drivers do the work. Many industries, such as construction and agricultural businesses, would also benefit from intelligent and precise automation capabilities. Moreover, it is predicted that autonomous vehicles would witness a major push from several automakers and cab service providers in the coming years. North America and Europe regions are likely to exhibit major deployment of autonomous vehicles, whereas Asia-Pacific would register the highest growth rate. Likewise, legal frameworks are also crucial to the development of next generation of vehicles, and companies will need to gear up for forthcoming changes.

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