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 remains, however, to be seen if consumers will trust the likes of Google in any manoeuvre other than navigation, app-based POI information, or powering their smartphone.
“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 aim at ensuring that potentially self-driving vehicles reduce the probability of road-crashes. Google, on the other hand, is looking at the same as a potential business opportunity to leverage technology to ensure that driver distraction does not result in dangerous situations, as the vehicle drives itself.
“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, lest the occupants be bored to death,” Mr. Natarajan says. “One should not be surprised to see Apple entering this space, considering the popularity of the iPhone in markets where automated cars are likely to be launched first. Another prospect is, of course, Microsoft. Today Microsoft possesses the right mix of business solutions that are needed to enter this space. It could just be a matter of time.”
What one can expect in the next five years is a vehicle that is capable of driving itself but still holds the driver responsible for the driving task; some cars make driving decisions more often than others, which are referred to as the divide between semi- and highly-autonomous cars. Fully autonomous cars do not require a human to be present inside to drive the vehicle. As a consequence, such a vehicle will not need the same architecture as a vehicle of the present day: steering wheel, brake-pedal, throttle, gear-shift, parking brake, etc., could all be removed and the vehicle would have more space for comfort, convenience, and infotainment features throughout.
) - Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 - filed under News
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