It’s no secret that driverless vehicles are coming to society a lot later than the media suggested. Articles with headlines like “It’s 2020. Where are our Self-Driving Cars?,” “Self-Driving Cars: Hype-Filled Decade Ends on a Sobering Note,” and “Driverless Cars are Taking Longer Than We Expected. Here’s Why” reflect where we are today.
In the meantime, the car industry is making a lot of other investments and advancements. Here are some exciting examples:
- Electric vehicles – As stated in this article, “In 2018, ZEVs represented 1.9% of total sales nationwide, or about 334,000 vehicles out of 17.2 million new vehicles sold. By 2025, sales of ZEVs are required to be about 7 to 10% of total sales.”
- Partially Automated Driving Systems (ADS) – Not to be confused with fully driverless technology, partial ADS presents great safety opportunities for vehicles today. Examples include adaptive cruise control, lane centering, and self-parking.
- Ownership model – As stated in this article, “By 2025-26, vehicle subscription programs could account for nearly 10% of all new vehicle sales in the US and Europe.” We’re seeing this trend across all industries, so it’s no surprise that people are less inclined to own vehicles outright and that vehicle manufacturers and dealers are adapting to this trend.
- Maintenance / upgradeability – As the vehicles are becoming “smarter” and more connected, they have the ability to have increased predictive maintenance (so they can identify potential maintenance issues before they happen) and they can be enhanced via “over the air” or other upgrades.
- Data Machines – Often described as “computers on wheels,” vehicles are now storing and sharing more data than ever. This article states, “A car can generate about 25 gigabytes of data every hour and as much as 4,000 gigabytes a day” While vehicle manufacturers are still exploring how to monetize all of this data, there is no question that vehicle data is a growing part of the automobile industry’s value chain.
There’s no question that these will all have influences on driverless vehicles, so it’s important we keep following these exciting industry developments. I’m sure this list is actually much longer – what else am I missing?