Despite the enormous and ridiculous amount of attention to Tesla’s recent Autopilot fatality and the company’s other recent Autopilot crashes, auto companies will not slow in their mission to develop such systems. In fact, the media may even speed up the process. IHS auto technology analyst, Jeremy Carlson, explained:
“Everyone is doing something in this space or they’ll get left behind. This is about the future of the automobile.”
Immediately following the crash reports, BMW solidified its anticipated autonomous project with Intel and Mobileye. There are a myriad of companies working on the technology including, but not limited to, GM, Ford, Daimler, Nissan, VW, and Google.
Now the stakes are even greater, as the known “top” company in the self-driving industry is facing issues. Other companies, while some are scolding Tesla for the incident, are racing to make their technology better and safer. The incident opens doors for other automakers to report that their systems are not going to function like the “troubled” Tesla Autopilot. Even as his company is surging publicly into self-driving tech, BMW CEO Harald Krueger told media:
“Today, the (self-driving) technologies are not ready for serious production.”
Ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber are also hoping to benefit from fleets of self-driving vehicles. Partnerships between the ride-sharing companies and tech companies or automakers, or all three combined, are in the works and growing.
Google recently officially partnered for the first time, teaming with Fiat-Chrysler. GM is working with Lyft to get the upcoming Bolt EV into the ride-sharing market and has also teamed up with Cruise Automation for the development of the autonomous technology. Volkswagen has funded Israeli ride-sharing company, Gett, with $300 million to begin moving forward as a team effort. Apple pumped $2 billion into China’s top ride-sharing company Didi-Chuxing. Carlson from IHS said:
“The deal with Fiat Chrysler is the clearest signal yet that partnerships are where they want to take this.”
Toyota has also announced a plan to team with Uber. Toyota senior managing officer, Shigeki Tomoyama, said:
“Ride sharing has huge potential in terms of shaping the future of mobility. Through this collaboration with Uber, we would like to explore new ways of delivering secure, convenient and attractive mobility services to customers.”
Regardless of all of the above reports, Navigant independent research company claims that above all, Daimler is the leader of the pack for self-driving “strategy and execution”. Apparently, Mercedes has been working on the tech for many years, but the company is riding a more cautious road than Tesla and others in terms of releasing it to the public.
Most reports are saying that by 2020 we will see a surge in self-driving technologies on the roads, most likely with some type of standard government guidelines and restrictions in place. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is hard at work on establishing guidelines, and the spotlight and investigation into the recent Tesla incidents should only help move matters along. Edison Investment Research Analyst, Richard Windsor, reminds:
“Liability is the biggest problem that faces autonomous driving, as sending an algorithm to prison is not a practical option. When autonomous vehicles crash, and they will, the question arises as to who is responsible for the crash.”
Thus far, only California and a few other states have minimal rules in place. IHS estimates 76 million autonomous vehicles on global roads by 2035.
Source (Investor’s Business Daily)