Google could soon face non-automotive competition on the driverless car market image

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.