Companies In The Self-Driving Vehicle Race

As reported yesterday, self-driving vehicle technology is not going away. There will surely be “speed bumps” such as auto accidents and regulations, however, it is known that autonomous vehicles will eventually be a major mode of transportation and will prove safer than human drivers.

Here is a list of companies that are currently working on and planning to release the technology as soon as 2018. Although it may never be complete, it is the most substantial list that has surfaced thus far.

The List:

  • Tesla says that it will have its autonomous technology ready by 2018, but knows that regulators will likely not allow it to be fully functional on the road.
  • Google is waiting until it has fully autonomous technology ready to release, and for regulators to get on board. The goal is 2020.
  • Baidu of Beijing, with a U.S. location near Apple’s Project Titan buildings in Sunnyvale, California is aggressively shooting for 2018.
  • Uber recruited employees from Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics team to work on its self-driving car.
  • Ford is aiming for full autonomy in 4-5 years. CEO Mark Fields explained, “What we have said is, we may not be the first, but when we do, it will be true to our brand, which means accessibility. We want to make sure it’s available to everyone, and not just folks who can afford luxury cars.” The company has 30 driverless cars, the largest fleet of all companies, and has already proven that the cars can drive in the dark and in snow.
  • General Motors bought a self-driving technology company, Cruise Automation, for $1 billion. A fleet of autonomous vehicles will be available for employees as soon as this year. The company has goals to use its partnership with Lyft to compete with Uber in self-driving ride-sharing fleets.
  • Daimler is working to have self-driving semi-trucks on public roads by 2020. A Mercedes truck drove with semi-autonomy on public roads last year. Daimler is being cautious to release self-driving vehicles, but is reportedly ahead of the curve.
  • Toyota has invested $1 billion in robotics, artificial intelligence, and mapping to strive for 2020.
  • BMW‘s iNext fully self-driving car is set to be released in 2021. The company already revealed some concepts in an i3 and has features in the BMW 7, which is on the road today.
  • Volvo will continue to move forward in semi-autonomous safety technology, working toward full autonomy by 2020. Next year, the company will already be running a major test program for driverless Volvo XC90s in China, Sweden, and London.
  • Nissan will release ProPILOT semi-autonomous technology in Japan next month, with plans to hit China, Europe, and the U.S. soon. The goal is full self-driving by 2020.
  • Audi has had autonomous permits in Nevada and California for years. Its A7 has already driven 550 miles on its own.
  • Honda has been testing its vehicles at the Concord Naval Weapons Station in San Francisco for over a year and plans to work progressively toward full autonomy by 2020.
  • Hyundai already has features in its Genesis and will have more driverless features by 2020. The company doesn’t plan to move to full self-driving until 2030.
  • Bosch has been testing autonomous technology for years in Germany, Japan, and the U.S. The company’s goal is 2020.
  • PSA Groupe sent a driverless car 360 miles across France last year. It’s goal is, of course, 2020 as well.
  • Faraday Future unveiled a concept car described as fully autonomous. The company won’t have any actual cars in production until 2020 and there are no specifics as to whether or not the first models will be self-driving.
  • LeEco, a Faraday Future partner is working on the fully autonomous LeSEE. It has a retractable steering wheel and is supposed to be used primarily as a fleet vehicle with summon mode.
  • And . . . last but surely not least, Apple. As we all know, the company hasn’t and won’t confirm anything. However, an immense amount of rumors and fact finding shows that the Apple Car is underway. The company has hired multiple experts, acquired property in at least a few countries, partnered with the top ride-sharing company in China, met with vehicle charging companies, toured BMW’s facilities, contacted small self-driving technology start-ups, started an energy company, and the list goes on and on. Analysts and insiders are marking 2019-2020 or so to be the age of the Apple Car.

Source (Tech Insider)

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