Premium brands drive driverless movement
Among ‘traditional’ carmakers, premium brands are leading the way in autonomous vehicle development, with safety and convenience being key selling points and technologies leading to a hefty premium on a car’s price.
Proponents of autonomous cars argue that these new vehicles will positively affect safety, convenience, traffic and mobility.
A major decrease of traffic accidents is expected, as crashes are currently overwhelmingly linked to driver-related causes (94% of all crashes).
More efficient driving patterns and highway platooning should occur, leading to reduced traffic jams, increased fuel efficiency and a reduction in pollution.
Fully autonomous cars (level 5) are expected to hit the market in the coming years, even though many concerns remain, among both the public and carmakers.
Currently, some of the most advanced manufacturers already have level 3 vehicles in their line-up, and many are targeting level 4 or even level 5 in the coming years. Some players are arguing that safety is a concern with level 3 self-driving cars, and that the industry should ‘leapfrog’ directly to higher levels.
Even from a technology standpoint, not all carmakers agree on the best combination of sensors to achieve automation. Although sensors are fundamental for self-driving, connectivity and communication technologies will also be crucial in future self-driving cars. Communication technologies will allow cars to communicate with the outside world and vice-versa, enabling improved navigation and enhancing safety, among other applications.