Self-driving Car Market Players: Achievements
GM, Mercedes-Benz, Uber, Tesla, Waymo, and Audi – all these companies are fighting for the place in the sun. Let us find out who else is galloping ahead and what achievements participants of the self-driving car race have.
According to Bloomberg, today the first place in the market of self-driving cars belongs to Waymo owned by Alphabet Inc. The reasons for this leadership lie in the following: the company presented autonomous vehicles in the market with a one-year time advantage.
Already in late 2018, Waymo One self-driving taxi service started operation.
The company owns a huge fleet and space for testing. In the middle of 2018 alone, its self-driving cars ran around 8 million kilometers on the US roads. And billions of kilometers in computer simulation. Waymo purchased 20,000 Jaguar I-Pace vehicles and leads negotiations with Honda.
The company informed about few accidents during last year’s testing in California: three accidents over 560,000 km. Its main competitor – General Motors – had 22 collisions over 212,000 km.
GM does not lag behind much. Experts of Bloomberg believe that the company has several advantages over Waymo:
Japanese SoftBank Group Corp. supported GM’s self-driving cars by investing $2.25 billion. Total investments in the self-driving division equal to $3.35 billion.
General Motors has its own manufacturing facility – a car factory. In the future, this may influence the price of autonomous cars.
However, GM’s vehicles are slower than Waymo’s self-driving cars: they reach the maximum speed of 40 km/h. New Lidars from Strobe can improve the situation. Moreover, they will cost less.
Cars with adaptive cruise-control systems from Mercedes-Benz hit the market back in the 1990s. The car manufacturer has greatly advanced its driver assistance systems since that time. For instance, the company works with Bosch and Nvidia on the newest cars. They will be equipped with systems allowing driving at Level 5 autonomy.
The company has already tested cars on loaded roads near its research center in Stuttgart. However, Mercedes-Benz is not planning to release self-driving cars on the roads until 2021. They will act as robo-taxis though, as they will be too expensive to buy in retail.
Previously this company belonged to General Motors and specialized in the production of auto parts. But today all participants of the self-driving car market reckon with Aptiv.
Aptiv Plc purchased Ottomatika IT company and stakes in companies that produce Lidars: Innoviz, Quanenergy Systems, and Leddertech. The company did not stop there and bought NuTonomy that was testing autonomous vehicles in the US and Singapore.
By doing so Aptiv gained a technological advantage and presented a test version of robo-taxi at CES in 2018. The company’s fleet comprises Audi and BMW cars.
One more startup that competes for its place in the self-driving car market. Despite only a few have heard about Zoox, it managed to raise $360 million. Therefore, the company is already testing its autonomous vehicles (based on Toyota Highlander) on highways. Zoox is planning to release autonomous cars by 2020. However, experts believe that it still needs around $640 million for this purpose.
The alliance is proud of their adaptive safety systems, which can recognize that a car ahead stops quickly.
According to the company, this is just another step on the way of creating a fully autonomous car. Currently, Renault-Nissan is testing self-driving cars in the US and Japan. For example, there was a testing of a ride-hailing project in Yokohama. And there are plans of the same pilot in the French towns.
Besides, Renault presented a concept self-driving car Symbioz that can run 130 km/h without interference in control. This shows the readiness of the company to take its own niche in the market. At the same time, Renault-Nissan adequately estimates its capabilities planning to launch the first autonomous cars in 2022.
One of the smartest pilot technologies available in the market Traffic Jam Pilot ensures the bright future of this car manufacturer in the field of autonomous cars. The system can drive the car independently at the speed of up to 60 km/h.
Besides, the company works with Nvidia and Aurora startup. Thanks to this, Audi hopes to release its fully autonomous car on the roads in 2020.
You can hardly call BMW a market leader. The company has 40 cars that can drive at Level 4 autonomy.
Nevertheless, its research department has around 1,000 people and the company partners with Intel, Continental AG, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.
Japanese carmaker does not like to boast its developments. However, one should remember that the company equipped its cars with the first self-parking system 16 years ago. In addition, in 2018, Toyota unveiled a self-driving shuttle e-Palette designed specifically for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Back in 2017, Ford bought a stake in Argo AI that develops artificial intelligence systems. Despite the purchase, Ford is several years behind the leaders. But the company has strong partners that are ready for collaboration, for example, Domino’s Pizza agreed to use Ford’s vehicles to deliver products. Not to mention that the company has many car factories.
Swedish car manufacturer employs 500 specialists to develop self-driving technology. For now, their successes are not inspiring: Pilot Assist system can take on the control just for 15 seconds. It monitors the distance to the vehicle going ahead and keeps the car in the lane.
The company made the name of a strong market player back in 2015 when it lured developers of Carnegie Robotics. A year later, it bought Otto that developed self-driving trucks. One employee of Otto that previously worked for Google published the secret business correspondence. It cost Uber $245 million.
Misfortunes continued one after another. In 2018, a self-driving car of Uber killed a pedestrian in the US. As a result, the company promptly finished tests of autonomous vehicles.
Tesla equips its cars with ordinary cameras instead of Lidars. However, cameras interact with an unusual AI-powered machine vision system. It recognizes road signs, marking, and obstacles on the way. Thanks to this, the company can make self-driving cars more affordable.
This Chinese company has been developing autonomous cars for 5 years. Two years ago, Baidu was testing the first version of its software on Chinese roads. The second version was unveiled in early 2018.
Baidu has the right to test its autonomous cars on 33 roads of Beijing. The company plans to release cars with Level 4 autonomy by 2021.
According to Goldman Sachs Group, the revenue of self-driving taxi services will grow from $5 billion to $285 billion over 12 years. Therefore, it is no wonder that leading carmakers are fighting for their piece of pie and want to be the first to take their market niche.