What Can the Current Test Models Do?

Current test models of autonomous cars can:

Toyota Prius Audi RS

Google’s Autonomous Prius

  • Reaches 75 mph
  • Understands Traffic Lights
  • Merges at highway speeds
  • Identifies and avoids pedestrians
  • Adapts speed based on surrounding vehicles
  • Passed a driving test in Nevada

Audi’s Autonomous RS7

  • Uses 560 Horsepower
  • Reaches 150mph
  • Races on Formula One tracks

Pioneering Car Makers

The Era of Autonomous Vehicles has arrived

Audi logo
2010

Self-driving Audi TTS races the 12.42-mile sprint to the summit of Pike’s Peak in 27 min (17 min shy of human record)

BMW logo
2011

A BMW drives itself down the Autobahn from Munich to Ingolstadt

Toyota logo
2012

Google’s self-driving Toyota Priuses exceed 200,000 test miles on public roads

2014

Induct Technology begins selling world’s 1st commercial autonomous vehicle, Navia. (Max speed: 12mph, Capacity: 8 people)

Lexus logo
2015

Google’s self-driving Lexuses exceed 700,000 test miles on public highways

Audi logo
2017

Scheduled launch date of fully autonomous Audi A8

When Will Fully Autonomous Vehicles Be Available to the Public?

A number of industry experts have also predicted when they expect autonomous vehicles to be available to the public:

The IEEE (Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers) predicts up to 75% of vehicles will be autonomous in 2040.

Stefan Moser
Stefan Moser

Head of Product & Technology Communications at Audi: 2017

Sergey Brin
Sergey Brin

Google Founder: 2018

Carlos Ghosn
Carlos Ghosn

CEO of Nissan: 2020

Elon Musk
Elon Musk

Tesla Founder: 2020

Mark Fields
Mark Fields

CEO of Ford: 2020

Justin Rattner
Justin Rattner

CTO of Intel: 2022

The Autonomous Advantage

Google Car
Think faster
Attend to more information
React more quickly
Keep track of more complicated routes
Remain calmer, and nonitor surroundings better than human drivers
“Distracted, drunk, falling asleep, falling prey to human perceptual deficits or cognitive biases, driving recklessly through over-confidence or erratically through under-confidence, ignorant of the traffic regulations or just plain criminally negligent, human drivers are forever stuck in version 1.0.” Wired

Advantages of Adopting Autonomous Vehicles

Safety
Increased Highway Safety

93% of crashes are due to human error.

Distance
Shorter Commutes

The average American spends 38 hrs stopped in traffic annually. The average Briton spends 235 hrs driving annually.

Pollution
Less Pollution

Adaptive cruise control improves fuel economy 20-30% over manual throttle/braking.

Boost
Society-Wide Economic Boost

Morgan Stanley estimates full adoption of autonomous vehicles would save US economy $1.3 trillion annually: Accidents, Fuel Costs, Workforce Productivity.

Productivity
Higher Productivity

Commutes could be used for work, study, sleep, or relaxation.

How Autonomous Vehicles Could Change the World

If Autonomous Vehicles Replaced Manual Vehicles, We Could…

Use Vehicles More Efficiently

Today, cars sit unused 95% of the time, yet cost $9000/yr on average.

Vastly Improve Parking Availability

Autonomous cars could circulate all day, picking up passengers on demand and can park in much tighter spaces, with no need to open doors.

Reduce Car Crashes by +90%

Robots are simply better drivers than humans.

Reduce Personal Car Ownership

Using driverless taxis would cost less than owning a car.

Vastly Reduce Traffic

A Columbia University study suggested NYC’s 171,000 taxis could be replaced by just 9,000 autonomous cars, cutting costs by 88% and wait times by +95%

PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts autonomous technology could take 99% of vehicles off the road.

Reduce Greenhouse Emissions 90%

90% fewer cars on the road would reduce overall emissions by 15.9%.

Why Might Federal Regulators Mandate Autonomous Technology?

“It’s too dangerous. You can’t have a person driving a two-tonne death machine,” Elon Musk
Google Car
Worldwide, 1.24 million people die annually in car accidents
In the US alone, about 40,000 people die each year in car wrecks.

Governments have a vested interest in protecting their citizens, and the fact is that autonomous technology makes highways safer. So, like seatbelts, we might soon begin to see laws requiring automakers to include autonomous tech in new vehicles.

Insurance Uncertainties

Tesla
Tesla
  • The adoption of autonomous vehicles will, without question, transform the $198 billion auto insurance industry. All that remains to be seen is how and how quickly the transformations will take place.
  • As vehicles become safer, “Lower claims would be expected to result in lower premiums, and tighter profit margins.”–Lloyds of London
  • If 90% of traffic accidents are avoided by autonomous technology that eliminates human error.

risks still remain. These include…

  • Collision by malfunction
  • Cyber risks (such as hackers)
  • Collision because driver isn’t alert (Applicable for semi-autonomous vehicles)
  • Reputational risk for manufacturers (“People are more likely to take issue with a car & its manufacturer if it crashes itself, than if they had crashed it themselves.”)

‘But Let’s Not Be Hasty’

Tesla
  • “Even when a feature is mandated by federal regulations, it takes 30 years for [safety features] to penetrate 95% of the vehicles on the road.” – Russ Rader, spokesman for Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  • In any case, self-driving cars are coming. Whether the road to their adoption will be long or short, only time will tell.
  • Echoing this sentiment, research firm IHS predicts worldwide sales of semi-autonomous vehicles to grow from 230,000 in 2025 to 11.8 million in 2035. Of those, just 4.8 million are expected to be fully autonomous.