Aggressive players in virtually every segment of the automotive value chain have unveiled, or are conducting pilot programs of, partially or fully autonomous vehicles or enabling technologies in locations around the world. Audi, for example, presented its highly autonomous A7 model, which has highway-driving capability, at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The car had driven itself to the show from San Francisco—a distance of 550 miles.
BMW has tested its autonomous Series 2 model on closed tracks and city streets. Daimler is testing both highly and fully autonomous vehicles in the U.S. and Germany. Tesla and GM plan to roll out models capable of hands-free highway driving in the summer of 2015 and 2016, respectively. Nissan has already tested its Autonomous Drive technology, which enables highly autonomous functionality, on public roads in Japan. The company plans the commercial launch of a model with traffic jam autopilot in late 2016.
Volvo and various Swedish government bodies in 2014 launched the “Drive Me” initiative, in which 100 self-driving cars navigate public roadways in everyday conditions in and around the city of Gothenburg. The project’s first test cars are already on the road. And the prototypes of Google’s AVs have been widely publicized.
Meanwhile, Wageningen University, in the Netherlands, plans to introduce a driverless taxi later this year. The vehicle, one of the first of its kind, will operate between two campus locations. Milton Keynes, a planned community in the UK, is developing self-driving “public transport pods” for rollout in 2017. Last year, Singapore conducted a two-month test of driverless vehicles, in which 500 people tried out self-driving buggies that plied the paths of the gardens in the city’s Jurong Lake district. Later this year, the city will begin testing AV jitneys that will convey people for short distances at low speeds in another part of town. The object of the test is to observe how AVs perform in real traffic conditions on public roads and how they interact with pedestrians and bicyclists at intersections.
Suppliers are preparing for the AV future as well. Bosch, Continental, Delphi Automotive, Mobileye, Valeo, Velodyne, and Nvidia, to name a few, are among the suppliers that are in the advanced stages of testing the positioning, guidance, and processing technology needed to make AVs a commercial reality.
In this report, we consider and quantify consumer preferences regarding autonomous features and the technological, economic, societal, and regulatory evolutions that must occur for autonomous vehicles to become a commercial reality. We pinpoint the key obstacles to the development of partially and fully autonomous vehicles and identify the likely uses of AVs in both personal and commercial contexts. We also offer a roadmap for the development of the AV market for the automotive industry, technology providers, and regulators, outlining the steps that each stakeholder will need to take for that development to occur.