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Analysing market forecasts for autonomous vehicles

Posted: 28 Aug 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Autonmous Vehicles? cars? Google?

When asked about the huge jump in self-driving cars from 8,000 annually in 2020 to 95.4 million in 2035, Alexander said, "We see it no different from how cars with adaptive cruise control rapidly grew within a short of five years, from the early 2000s when the market was very small."

Strategy Analytics, in contrast, takes a more conservative view. Riches explained: "Looking at the latest forecast data, the percentage of light vehicles worldwide fitted with all of autonomous cruise control, lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring was less than 1 per cent in 2010 and is projected at around 5 per cent in 2015, rising to 9 per cent in 2020."

Riches further projected the percentage of vehicles with all three of these technologies (and thus the prospect of being partially/fully autonomous) at around 13 per cent in 2025 and 18 per cent in 2030. However, he acknowledged that these numbers could be "an underestimate, as we would expect growth to pick up as technologies get cheaper and more legislation is enacted mandating a certain level of driver support."

The need for a legal frameworkBoth Navigant Research and Strategy Analytics agreed that the elephant in the room, in any discussion of self-driving cars, is the absence of a legal framework for autonomous cars.

As Alexander described, the main barrier under the Geneva Convention on driving law, for all vehicles, is that drivers must be in charge of driving and be in control at all times. He explained, "Some US states and European countries have begun to issue licences to companies to conduct testing of autonomous driving features on public highways under controlled conditions."

But that permit requires new legislation. Complicating the matter further, automotive OEMs do not wish to be held liable for any accidents caused by self-driving cars.

Riches noted: "Ultimately, it will be the vehicle manufacturer who has to stand behind their product. But they will probably need clarifications and likely [make] changes to current product liability laws before they can advertise and sell fully autonomous vehicles."

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