The global autonomous vehicle market has observed considerable technological development in the recent years, due to which the demand for these vehicles are gaining pace. Rising focus on vehicle safety backed by governments’ regulations to incorporate safety features in vehicle will aid the growth of the market. In addition, growing vehicle sharing market, coupled with increasing customers’ requirement for ease in driving is further expected to benefit the growth of the market.
On the basis of level of automation, the autonomous vehicle market has been categorized into semi-autonomous and fully autonomous.
The autonomous vehicles are currently recognized under five levels of autonomy, ranging from Level 0 to Level 5. The autonomy levels from 1 to 3 comes under semi-autonomous category and Level 4 and Level 5 are considered as fully autonomous vehicles. The highest level of autonomy achieved till date is Level 3, whereas Level 4 autonomy is expected to be introduced to customers by 2021. Furthermore, Level 5 autonomous vehicles may take time and might get introduced in mid-2025s.
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Geographically, North America dominated the autonomous vehicle market, in terms of volume, during the historical period. Technological advancement in the region along with major technological innovators such as Microsoft Corporation, Google LLC, and Aptiv PLC, which are significantly investing in research and development, and testing of technologies of autonomous vehicles and for commercializing them, is a key driver to propel the market for autonomous vehicles in the region.
Autonomous vehicle technologies have capabilities to significantly affect safety, congestion, and energy use. For instance, there were around 34,200 fatal automobile crashes in the U.S. in 2017, which led to about 37,000 deaths. The use of autonomous vehicles can vividly reduce the number of automobile crashes and offer customers’ safety.
For instance, in 2016, General Motors capitalized $500 million in Lyft Inc., an on-demand transportation company based in the U.S., to expand its research and development (R&D) with Honda Motor Company Ltd., Volkswagen AG, and Mobileye Vision Technologies Ltd. Similarly, in 2016, Toyota Motor Corporation also prolonged its five-year telematics partnership with Microsoft Corporation and invested $1 billion into its R&D.
Major automakers in the global autonomous vehicle market are General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Nissan Motor Company Ltd., Toyota Motor Corporation, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), and Volkswagen AG.; and the major technology providers are Google Inc, Intel Corporation, and Apple Inc.