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Major players, trends, forecasts: what will the autonomous cars market look like in 2019
Auditors of PwC believe that big cities will have an autonomous transport infrastructure by 2040. Cars with internal-combustion engines will give way to electric cars positively influencing the environment.
However, these are long-term forecasts. Read further in the article which changes analysts predict in the field of autonomous cars in 2019.
Global market cap and trends of autonomous cars
Frost & Sullivan forecasts that the autonomous cars market will grow to $84 billion in 2019 ($1.3 billion in 2018), and sales of autonomous cars will reach 36 million vehicles globally. Such a gap as compared to the past years is connected with the fact that investments in the autonomous cars market have increased significantly. Audi alone reported plans to invest $40 billion in this sector in the next five years.
Besides, Frost & Sullivan believes that in the future not more than three to four major players will stay in the market providing a full range of automated solutions. Mass commercialization of autonomous cars will start after 2025 – by that time sales of autonomous cars will exceed 40% of the global connected cars market.
Major players of the connected cars industry
In the second half of 2018, Bloomberg published a ranking of the most high-powered players of the autonomous cars market. It included:
Waymo, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., leads the pack for several reasons. On one side, the company brings developments to life faster than competitors do. On the other side, it has influential investors.
In late 2018, Waymo launched a fee-based self-driving taxi service called Waymo One. It is available in several US cities with prices similar to Uber and Lyft.
Trial tests of Waymo cars that took place prior to the service launch have shown good results. Overall, human intervention in the control of the autonomous car was required in three cases over 560,000 km. For comparison, Waymo’s closest competitor General Motors shows the result of 22 human interventions over 212,000 km.
The US automobile corporation General Motors receives huge investments. Japan’s SoftBank invested $2.25 billion in the General Motors division that focuses on autonomous cars. In addition, General Motors invested $1.1 billion. Besides, the company owns an automobile factory that allows cutting production costs and reducing car prices.
In 2019, General Motors plans to launch an app for driving Chevrolet Bolt with no steering wheel or pedals. Bloomberg highlights that other competitors are more cautious and expect to enter the market with similar technologies in 2020 at the earliest.
In 2018, Mercedes-Benz presented a modular platform that can lay a foundation for the new-generation urban transport.
Mercedes-Benz Vision Urbanetic is a system that unites different cars designed to function for the benefit of economics, social needs, and high environmental standards.
Vision Urbanetic electric cars comprise two parts – a platform and a detachable transportation module. The platform can be fitted with a passenger or a cargo module, and the process of changing them takes just several minutes.
Audi A3 2014 was the first car equipped with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. The technology became a standard for modern connected cars.
At CES 2019, Audi unveiled another autonomous car model – Audi E-Tron. In collaboration with Disney, the company synchronized forward, back, and side movements of the car with a VR-based video game to turn an ordinary ride in an exciting entertainment.
Besides, the company promises to offer 20+ electric car models by 2025.
Although Tesla Motors has top positions in rankings, the company is not doing well. Over the 2017 accounting period, Tesla’s net loss grew to $2.2 billion from $773 million in 2016.
In addition, Tesla Motors reported the 7% reduction of staff in January 2019, leaving 3,000 people unemployed. By doing so, the company is supposed to be cutting production costs of Tesla Model 3.
Main development trends in 2019
Real time data processing is one of the main development trends in the field of connected cars. AI developers are responsible for the growth of this technology.
PwC forecasts that car manufacturers will develop a joint neural network by 2020, thanks to which vehicles will learn on their own. Such tech giants as IBM, Intel, Cisco, Google, Amazon, and Nokia are developing it now.
Alongside artificial intelligence, IoT developments have high potential. IoT will unite transport facilities with video surveillance systems, GPS, mobile apps, and wireless data transmission systems (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G, NB-IoT).
London already has a sensor network that transfers data to the underground’s cloud center. The latter monitors the underground transportation system, including elevators, lifts, and equipment. Upon the first signs of malfunctions, the system sends alerts.
However, the integration of these technologies will primarily take place in the markets of developed countries – alongside the introduction of legislative changes.
Regulation of autonomous transport
The USA was one of the first countries to regulate autonomous vehicles at the national level. The US Ministry of Transport released recommendations on autonomous cars back in 2016. By doing so, the USA settled conflicts with the law in different states and sped up the adoption of the technology.
Two years later, China published national regulations for trials of autonomous cars. This paper was drafted after two notorious accidents involving Uber and Tesla Motors cars took place.
Vice Minister of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Xin Guobin said that the legalization of driving tests of autonomous cars was a complex process and that safety should be the priority in that task.
A trend for autonomous public transport
In 2018, autonomous public transport became a more common phenomenon, in particular taxis, trains, and trams. Sweden (public transport in Stockholm) and Catalonia (Еrica bus intended for 12 passengers) were also testing smart transport. Baidu announced the start of mass production of Apolong autonomous electric buses.
In the second half of 2018, Aptiv auto parts company (former Delphi) reported the launch of 30 autonomous cars on the roads of Las Vegas. Forecasts say that developments in the field of autonomous public transport will be gaining momentum in 2019.
Autonomous cars in Russia
In 2019, Yandex, KAMAZ, and MADI will start testing autonomous cars in the regions of Russia (Moscow and Tatarstan). Special traffic regulations and rules of interaction with other traffic participants have been elaborated for electric cars.
Moreover, there are plans to test autonomous trains at Moscow Central Circle. They are expected to help reduce passenger wait time at Moscow Central Circle during rush hours from 5 to 4 minutes. The first trial of autonomous train will take place without passengers and the driver will be present in the cab.
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