The self-driving car now represents the immediate future of the automotive industry worldwide. According to a study published by the Juniper Research institute, the self-driving car market could reach $ 5 million in sales per year in the United States alone by 2026 and 20 million globally. Overall, the turnover for the sector could be around 557 billion dollars. And if China is at the forefront, there are now many manufacturers that have started their tests on different levels of automation and enter into agreements with various companies in the technological sector for the development of ever more advanced components and models.
The latest moves in this direction include the announcement by Tesla founder Elon Musk, who officially presented Full Self-driving software, an evolution of his Autopilot system, at the Autonomy investor day of April 22nd. The progress achieved by the Palo Alto company has also led Musk to unbalance the forecast to market a fully autonomous car within the next year, planning to market almost one million robo-taxis in 2020, as reported by CNBC.
But competition in the sector is getting stronger and stronger. Last December, Waymo’s robo-taxi service made its début in the Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan area, the part of Alphabet dedicated to research on autonomous driving and linked to an app with which a small number of customers can book a race. So far the Google subsidiary, whose service is still being tested, has relied on Toyota car models.
Airbus and Zf
Even the aeronautical giant Airbus and the German company Zf Friedrichshafen, which deals with the production of technological components for transport, have signed an agreement for the development of increasingly advanced technologies in the sector of autonomous driving cars. The Zf on-board systems, mainly consisting of Lidar and Radar sensors, work together with the ground control points and high-definition maps provided by Airbus satellites, so as to create a solution that is as reliable and accurate as possible for cars without driver.
Always based on Lidar technology, the research carried out also by Apple is based. It is still not clear if the Cupertino giant is simply developing a unit dedicated to the production of technological sensors to be supplied to car manufacturers or if instead it is just thinking about a car marked with the famous apple. However, as we read in Reuters, in the last few days the technological giant would have started talking to various car companies and other component manufacturers to find partners to include in its Project Titan on autonomous driving, in which it has already invested over 1 billion dollars.
Another company that looks with interest at the world of autonomous driving is certainly Uber. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the Californian company would be close to an agreement that would lead to an investment of approximately $ 1 billion by SoftBank, Toyota and integrated systems manufacturer Denso Corporation to capitalize on a part of the unit dedicated to the self-driving vehicles already valued at over 7 billion dollars. And the agreement would allow Uber to maintain control of the unit but to reduce costs, given that overall it spends $ 20 million a month on autonomous driving research.
According to what we read in CNN, in recent months Amazon has also decided to play its part in the future market for self-driving cars and would be ready to participate in a round of investments worth a total of 530 million dollars in the Chinese startup Aurora, which produces software and hardware for autonomous driving and collaborates with companies such as the German Volkswagen, which started the level 4 tests in Hamburg (high automation), and the Korean Hyundai.