Fully driverless vehicles may be as little as 10 years away — at least according to a new study by ABI Research.
According to the study, driverless vehicles will start to appear in North America at the beginning of the next decade, culminating in more than 10 million robotic vehicles shipping in 2032. In other words, half of new vehicles shipped in North America will have driverless, robotic capabilities within 20 years.
Currently, a lot of new technology is hitting roads in a piecemeal fashion. A little lane-keeping technology here, some parking assist there and back-up collision intervention for good measure. Anyone who has shopped for a new car recently has seen these and other features emerge as standard options, and that trend isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon.
As cars become increasingly automated, however, the study notes that the current focus on “driver-centric” and “passive safety” features will become less important. Advanced human-machine interfaces to curb driver distraction are less relevant when the car is doing the driving.
“While the technological feasibility of autonomous vehicles is being demonstrated by Google, Audi, Volvo, Bosch, and Continental, obstacles such as high costs and lack of legislation remain,” ABI’s Dominique Bonte said in a statement. “On the other hand, the benefits of autonomous vehicles in terms of safety, cost savings, efficiency, and positive impact on the economy, are driving research and development efforts globally. With ADAS-type assistance features already being implemented on a wide scale, the next phase of autonomous Co-Pilot type vehicles will materialize in this decade. Fully autonomous, self-driving, robotic vehicles will appear 10 years from now.”
ABI says that car sharing and declining vehicle ownership will be two of the many disruptive effects caused by autonomous driving, which we are only starting to understand. It also notes that for these changes to occur, governments will need to focus on mandated communication between vehicles and other autonomous driving legislation.
[ photo courtesy of Google ]