The concept of autonomous cars/driverless cars is being enthusiastically explored only now. However, the development of this market took root in the late 1970s. The first version of an autonomous car was unveiled by S. Tsugawa and his team back in 1977. The car had two cameras that implemented analog computer technology for signal processing. However, Ernst Dickmanns, a German aerospace engineer, is widely recognized as the pioneer of the autonomous car due to his series of projects in the field in the 1980s. The Carnegie Mellon University introduced an autonomous car, NavLab 5, and drove it from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles in 1995.
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Autonomous cars/driverless cars, however, received a commercial boost from technology giant Google, Inc. when the company introduced a fleet of seven autonomous Toyota Prius hybrids in 2010. The company’s driverless car program has been termed as the turning point in the history of the autonomous/driverless cars market. The entry of a technology firm changed the competitive landscape of the market.
Global Autonomous Cars/Driverless Cars Market: Drivers and Restraints
The concept of autonomous cars/driverless cars has intrigued car enthusiasts and manufacturers alike as it nullifies human involvement in driving and navigation. An estimated 90% of road accidents across the world are caused due to human error. Hence, adoption of autonomous cars/driverless cars can significantly reduce the number of road accidents. Furthermore, autonomous cars will make it possible for visually impaired and senior citizens to commute safely. Driverless cars will also ensure better management of traffic flow and parking spots. All these factors are anticipated to support the growth of the global autonomous/driverless cars market.
However, certain restraining factors challenge the concept of driverless cars. For example, car enthusiasts might find it unappealing to give up driving their own vehicle. High cost of autonomous cars and reliance on GPS satellites for navigation are likely to hamper the growth of the market. Recent accidents associated with the testing of driverless cars have raised concerns about the safety of drivers.
Global Autonomous Cars/Driverless Cars Market: Region-wise Outlook
Geographically, the global autonomous cars/driverless cars market has been segmented into Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World. The U.S. has been the leading the autonomous cars/driverless cars market in North America. Early adoption of the innovative technology and presence of key market players have boosted the growth of the market in the region. Government support in terms of amendments in traffic regulations and funding of research projects on autonomous/driverless cars is also expected to augment the market in the region. Major players in the automotive industry in Europe are working on novel technologies regarding the development of autonomous cars. Changes in traffic regulations by governments across countries such as Sweden, the Netherlands, and Germany are anticipated to support the market. Countries such as Japan, Singapore, and China are the key markets for driverless cars in Asia Pacific.
The global autonomous cars/driverless cars market is witnessing increased competition due to the entry of technology firms. While automotive companies such as Tesla Motors, The Volvo Group, and Nissan Motor Company are working on the development of driverless cars, technology firms such as Google, Inc. and Baidu, Inc. are also exploring the opportunities in the autonomous cars market. Google, Inc. has tested its autonomous cars across Texas, Washington D.C., California, and Arizona.
Tesla Motors has been among the pioneers in the development of autonomous cars. In 2015, the company launched its semi-autonomous cars Tesla Model X and Model S, and aims to introduce driverless cars by 2020. Several of these automobile manufacturers are collaborating with technology firms for the development of autonomous cars.
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