Autonomous Cars are well on their way. Research, which started with the DARPA Grand Challenge, has been going on for more than ten years, so at the 20-year mark (circa 2024) we should fully expect this technology to be a regular part if our lives. Even if this only stretches to getting an autonomous cab at the weekend. Here are the top 5 companies that we think will play a critical role in this technology.
Volvo has just announced their ambitions in this market. Their aim is to launch in 2021 with a focus on trialling with families in the Drive Me project (seen in this promo video). This gives Volvo an advantage over the other companies on this list. They will get direct feedback from families, Volvo’s target market. When parents will be deciding on which autonomous car to get in 2025 Volvo with have features Tesla and Fords won’t have. This will be a key factor in solidifying Volvos growth in this autonomous car market.
Uber launched their live testing early in 2017, to some trouble. This recklessness isn’t great for the public’s perception of the autonomous car, but the damage will be limited by the other companies’ successes. What this does show is Uber’s aggressive stance on conquering the autonomous taxi market. This is not surprising given the huge rewards on offer. As Autonomous vehicles start to take over, personal vehicle sales will start to decline significantly in 2030. Autonomous taxi services will explode, Uber already has brand recognition as a tech-taxi service, so they are the natural market leader for this. Although, their current equipment looks like something from War of the Worlds.
Waymo is taking a different approach to the other companies on this list. By being the software partner, they can be the go-to company for the older car companies. Waymo carries the Google brand, something that is readily sellable. Especially given the public are already aware of the vigorous testing that Google has done. Waymo will emulate the success of Android for a while, but by 2030 they should make a serious decision about building their own hardware. The success of the Pixel will have a lot of influence on how they approach this.
Tesla already has a head start in the market. Arguably they are currently the market leader, but this is only because their products are shipping with the necessary technology already, even if it isn’t fully functional. Over the next few years, Tesla will be collecting a tonne of real world data that will be exponentially bigger than Waymo’s. They are also champions of electric vehicles, which is relevant to the early adopters of autonomous cars.
Ford has figured out the whole game to be the #1 company associated with autonomous cars. Their plans include bringing an autonomous taxi fleet to the world. Which means they can also foresee the decline in personal vehicle sale, a serious problem for Uber. They have the capital invested (over $1billion) and a century of experience in building, marketing and distributing cars. They have global brand recognition. An advantage over Tesla is that their cars won’t exclusively be electric, meaning the public’s issues with electric vehicles won’t factor in.