In the past few years, autonomous or “driverless” cars have moved into the realm of possibility. In 2016, self-driving car startup Nutonomy began testing a fleet of self-driving taxis in Singapore. In California, Google and Tesla began testing their own self-driving cars around the San Francisco Bay area. Many other companies have also entered the transportation industry looking to capitalize on recent technological and economic advancements. Uber and Lyft – the ride sharing services that have become ubiquitous in big cities across the world – have jumped into the game. Startups such as Comma, Nuro.AI, Gett, Delphi Automotive, and many others are also trying to carve out a niche in the new transportation industry.
Traditional auto manufacturers however also recognize the changing landscape of transportation. Not to be outdone, many of the established players have also created self-driving divisions to try and stay ahead of the curve in this new technology. Volvo, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, GM, Audi, and others have all opened up advanced self-driving vehicle initiatives.
Even today, some aspects of self-driving vehicles are being adopted in traditional automobiles already being sold. Technologies such as lane detection, automatic parking, and collision avoidance systems are being incorporated into traditional vehicles. The first fully automated self-driving cars are already on the roads in places like San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Singapore, and an ever growing list of other cities!
The market for self-driving vehicles is huge. Billions of dollars are invested into what could become a $42 billion dollar industry by 2025 according to Bloomberg Technology. However, this new industry also comes with new challenges and risks. Self-driving vehicles have yet to be deployed at large, and there remain many technological hurdles to overcome as these cars begin to be utilized in more locations. Recently, some of the risks of these vehicles were exposed with the death of the first person operating a vehicle on autopilot.