Autonomous cars are no longer a distant dream. Multiple players are currently working & testing prototypes; some are getting ready to launch their vehicles as early as 2021. Will you embrace this upcoming technology or shy away from the machine reliance it imposes on us.
Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, has always been particularly aggressive on his deadlines. He’s been claiming that Tesla is working on final prototypes and is getting ready to launch their driverless vehicle by 2018. That being said, it’s hard to say how regulators will be prepared to handle them on the roads at that time. We will just have to sit tight and see how things unfold.
Several rumors are circulating with regards to Musk making a big announcement about Autopilot 2.0 at an upcoming talk. With Tesla recently rolling out it’s firmware upgrades, customers are expecting Musk to talk about the future developments of Autopilot as the price was increased from $2.5k to $3k.
Uber has made the news for the driverless pilots it rolled out last September. However, it’s important to note that the vehicles were only tested by a handful of people and still had a safety driver as well as an engineer to comply with laws and prevent any accidents.
Uber has since partnered with Volvo to develop driverless cars and invested into a car space staffed with engineers from the Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics program.
Google has been working on driverless car technologies for a while. They pioneered Google Maps which required a vehicle to be driven around with a camera attached to it. It’s only our guess that they wanted to develop an autonomous vehicle which would do just that.
Google is different from other players. It’s not looking to launch a semi autonomous vehicle. It is planning to produce a fully driverless car which would not be equipped with a manually operated brake or steering wheel. You will be lounging as the vehicle gets you right to your destination. An ambitious dream, but definitely something we would expect coming out of a company such as Google.
Toyota has invested heavily into its artificial intelligence and robotics departments in order to achieve the goal to get to market by 2020. The automaker is also mapping routes to further aid its driverless vehicle efforts.
BMW has set fourth a plan to launch the first electric vehicle with autonomous capabilities by the end of 2021. The project, codename Project i20, is primarily aimed at China and is said to deliver a fully autonomous vehicle to the market by 2025.
As part of their quarterly showcase, BMW has demonstrated their fully electric i3 concept vehicle. The features they emphasized were the fact that it can self park and pick you up at the end of the visit.
BMW Series 7 vehicles are currently equipped with semi-autonomous features such as lane keeping assistance and side collision protection.
Volve released a marketing campaign aimed at covering their development of driverless vehicles. They’ve displayed the technology, discussed all of their sensing techniques and announced that they will be delivering 100 vehicles as pilots in 2017. That being said, despite the hype, the vehicles will only have certain features enabled; such as automatic braking, collision avoidance and lane tracking.
Nissan has been leveraging talent from top universities such as Stanford, MIT, Oxford and Carnegie Mellon to develop their autonomous vehicles. Nissan’s goal is to have a solid vehicle launch by the 2020 leveraging more than 80 years of combined research time across the above mentioned universities.
Nissan put a lot of emphasis on the safety of their vehicles. A 360 degree view around the vehicle offers collision detection, obstacle avoidance and more. This technology will translate warnings to the driver & take evasive action should they come under threat.
Based on their research, the vehicle Nissan is planning to release will reduce the accidents across the US by 93%. The research suggests that the majority of accidents are caused by human error. The technology will have a nearly instantaneous reaction time and and the ability to predict outcomes in order to take the best action possible.
Ford has made the announcement that it has invested over $1B into its autonomous vehicle development program in February 2017. They are planning to ramp up the Research & Development as well as production in order to have a street ready ride by 2021. The research center Ford has built is nothing less than impressive. It has over 150000 square feet of lab space and plans to staff over 340 employees by the end of 2017.
Although 2021 seems to be one of the “latest” deadlines, Ford was first to have automated vehicles on the road inside Mcity. We can’t predict what their vehicle will look like, but we expect the extra development time to be worth the wait.