The current legislation is hindering automakers from launching their automated vehicles they have in store at the moment, but besides traditional automakers such as BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz or General Motors, others could follow on Google’s footsteps to join the driverless race.
Google is going all out to create vehicles that do not need a driver inside. It’s a question of anyone’s guess, though, if consumers would give Google or any other technology based company that enters the self-driving segment the same measure of trust as the one given to traditional automakers.
“Contrary to popular belief, Google’s self-driving vehicle project is not going to disrupt the way vehicles are made,” says Frost & Sullivan Team Leader Automotive & Transportation, Prana T. Natarajan. “Just as automakers have started adding a socket for an aux-cable or a USB slot, they will ensure that their vehicles are Google-X ready. For that matter, Google may not even be the only non-automotive participant in the space for too long.”
Legislation and the efforts of traditional automakers look forward to self-driving vehicles reducing the probability of road-crashes. Google, on the other hand, is looking at the same as a potential business opportunity.
“In the future we will see a set of OEMs who offer proprietary automated cars and the likes of Google fitting certain other cars with an automation module and a Google-powered infotainment unit,” Mr. Natarajan adds. “One should not be surprised to see Apple entering this space. Another prospect is, of course, Microsoft. It could just be a matter of time.”
What is foreseeable in the next five years is a car that is capable of autonomous driving but still gets the driver responsible for the driving task; and some cars make driving decisions more often than others. Fully autonomous cars will not require a human to be present inside to drive the vehicle. A car like this would not have the same architecture as one has today: steering wheel, brake-pedal, throttle, gear-shift, parking brake, etc., could all be removed and the vehicle would have more space.