The Driverless Car Timeline

I think the most common question I hear regarding driverless cars (besides “are they really coming?”) is “when are they coming?” Well, technically the answer is “now” since there are driverless cars being tested on public roads around the country (and the world) today; however, here are some of the answers I’m hearing around the country:

  • Mark Fields, CEO of Ford estimated that fully autonomous vehicles would be available on the market within 5 years. But he was reluctant to claim that Ford would have an autonomous vehicle on the market by then. (Source: Forbes, 2015-02-09).
  • Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla estimates that “five or six years from now we will be able to achieve true autonomous driving where you could literally get in the car, go to sleep and wake up at your destination”. He then added another 2 to 3 years for regulatory approval.  (Source: Huffington Post, 2014-10-15)
  • Google’s founder Sergey Brin has made it clear that the company plans to have its driverless cars on the market no later than 2018. (Source:Driverless car market watch, 2012-10-02)
  • At the 2014 Paris Motor Show Dr. Wolfgang Epple, Jaguar and Land Rover’s Director of Research and Technology said that about fully autonomous driving: “For Jaguar and Land Rover it will happen within the next 10 years”. (Source:, 2014-10-03)
  • During this years’ CES, Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan said that driverless cars will be ready for showtime by the end of this decade. (Source: com, 2013-1-14)
  • KPMG conducted a survey senior executives representing $85 billion of the personal and commercial auto insurance industry. Of those surveyed, 84 percent don’t expect autonomous vehicles to significantly impact the insurance business until 2025. (Source: Crain’s, 2015-16-17)

As these sampling of responses show, the people closest to this technological advancement have a wide range of responses. The insurance industry is in complete denial!  I can’t wait to see what happens!

About Lauren Isaac

Lauren Isaac is the Director of Business Initiatives for the North American operation of EasyMile. Easymile provides electric, driverless shuttles that are designed to cover short distances in multi-use environments. Prior to working at EasyMile, Lauren worked at WSP where she was involved in various projects involving advanced technologies that can improve mobility in cities. Lauren wrote a guide titled “Driving Towards Driverless: A Guide for Government Agencies” regarding how local and regional governments should respond to autonomous vehicles in the short, medium, and long term. In addition, Lauren maintains the blog, “Driving Towards Driverless”, and has presented on this topic at more than 75 industry conferences. She recently did a TEDx Talk, and has been published in Forbes and the Chicago Tribune among other publications.
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