"Google is in a unique position to leverage adjacent technologies for developing self-driving car software"
SOUTHFIELD, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Autonomous driving continues to be one of the most widespread research
and development activities within the global automotive industry, as
automakers and technology companies alike strive to put advancements
into production and implement them for on-road testing and approvals.
According to a recent
report from IHS Automotive, part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS) and a
leading source of critical information and insight to the global
automotive industry, companies like Google and others are currently
working toward solutions in the autonomous vehicle space, while “car-
as-a-service” organizations like Uber, Lyft and others are set to create
disruption and add operational expertise that will significantly
influence autonomous vehicle development and consumer consideration in
the next decade.
It’s well known that self-driving and driverless cars are inevitable. It
is only a question of time in bringing various options to market for
consumers, and gaining their acceptance. The report includes full IHS
Automotive analysis of Google’s past activities -- and outlines future
scenarios for Google and others in the auto industry as they continue
technology developments toward autonomous driving.
Evolutionary and Revolutionary; Diverging Paths to Autonomy
Two primary research and development strategies to achieve self-driving
vehicles are in place today – evolutionary and revolutionary. Most
traditional automotive manufacturers are on the evolutionary track with
their R&D efforts, continuing along the current path of improving
advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to partial self-driving, and
eventual full self-driving vehicles.
On the other hand, Google leads the revolutionary approach and will have
a major impact in the coming years. Uber is also beginning to implement
some of its own R&D in this arena, as it works toward solutions for the
next stage of its disruptive transportation strategy.
Software is Key; Google Leads
The key to self-driving cars is a software that can interpret all of a
vehicles’ sensors and learn to mimic the driving skills and experiences
of the very best drivers. Google is the current technology leader in
this arena, according to IHS Automotive estimates, which suggest the
technology company has invested nearly $60 million so far in autonomous
vehicle research and development, at a run rate of nearly $30 million
Unlike traditional vehicle manufacturers, Google also has the ability to
leverage adjacent technologies and learnings from its other projects and
investments – including robotics, drones and related technologies that
help automotive operations, such as neural networks, artificial
intelligence (AI), machine learning and machine vision. This provides
Google researchers additional expertise not available directly to
“No other company has as much relevant technology to advance autonomous
driving software,” said Egil Juliussen, PhD., senior research director
at IHS Automotive and author of the report. Toyota’s early November
announcement of a $1 billion, five-year investment in AI, driverless
cars and robotics is likely partly due to Google’s rapid technology
From this perspective, Google’s self-driving car software is already
performing better than nearly all drivers in the vast majority of
traditional driving situations -- at least in good weather, according to
IHS analysis. However, as it continues its development, Google still
must discover and teach its software the “once in a million” events –
such as performing under diverse weather conditions, unique roadwork,
specific traffic situations and other nontraditional driving situations.
“Google is in a unique position to leverage adjacent technologies for
developing self-driving car software,” Juliussen said, “And its strategy
and goal is to provide the software and map infrastructure to allow
mobility services to anyone -- via fleets of driverless cars -- within a
decade or less.”
As a result, the car-as-a-service approach may see significant
opportunity. Currently, these services require drivers. In the future,
it is exceedingly likely that these and similar services may be able to
operate with a driverless approach.
Car-as-a-Service Set to be Major Game Changer
Car-as-a-service (CaaS) opportunities are becoming a new driving force
for urban transportation. CaaS is essentially an extension of
car-sharing, but via driverless vehicles. Google’s strategy is to
provide the technology infrastructure, maps and software to make CaaS
happen sometime after 2020. IHS Automotive analysts believe Google is
currently developing the software and maps that can be the basis for
driverless vehicles in five years or so.
IHS estimates that the deployment of driverless CaaS will begin before
2025 and will have increasing impact as technology advances and
driverless car volumes grow. In addition, autonomous driving and the
associated costs will dramatically lower the cost of mobility services
as a whole.
CaaS also will provide car mobility services for anyone, since no
driver’s license is needed and it will be an affordable transportation
solution for a large portion of the global population. IHS Automotive
estimates there are currently 6.2 billion people globally without a
driver’s license, or nearly 85 percent of the world’s population.
Driverless cars can also provide mobility services for packages and
other goods requiring transportation.
IHS Automotive currently forecasts that nearly 12 million self-driving
and driverless cars will be sold globally in 2035, which will reflect
about 10 percent of total global light vehicle sales. With continued
increasing R&D activities in autonomous driving technologies, the
current forecast could be too low.
Electric Vehicles Well-positioned for Autonomous Enablement for CaaS
The driverless cars, and future mobility services based on them, will
also provide a major opportunity for electric vehicles. Driverless car
mobility services will mostly happen in urban areas and will primarily
be short trips. These characteristics favor EVs as the powertrain for
driverless cars; they can easily re-charge themselves using existing and
growing public charging networks as needed between trips, which
eliminates any range anxiety. IHS Automotive forecasts that global EV
charging stations will grow from 650,000 in 2015 to more than seven
million in 2021—excluding home charging outlets.
Mega-cities and other large urban areas in the future also will prefer
the low emissions of EVs and as a result, should be keen to implement
fleets of driverless EVs in their communities. Added benefits of EVs as
part of CaaS may also lower congestion and help to resolve other
IHS Automotive forecasts that the global production of battery EVs will
grow from 273,000 in 2015 to 1.3 million in 2022. Global production of
plug-in hybrid EVs is projected to grow from 179,000 in 2015 to over 2.4
million in 2022, according to IHS estimates. Driverless car fleets for
CaaS are likely to greatly increase the sales of EVs after 2025.
The complete report seeks to educate suppliers, OEMs, technology
companies and other related constituents about the feasibility of an
autonomous driving future in the global marketplace. A copy of the full
report is available for purchase here.
Alternatively, contact the IHS sales department at +1.800.464.7655 (US)
or via email Automotive@IHS.com
(Global) for additional information.
IHS Automotive, part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), offers clients the most
comprehensive content and deepest expertise and insight on the
automotive industry available anywhere in the world today. With the
integration of Polk in 2013, IHS Automotive provides expertise and
predictive insight across the entire automotive value chain from product
inception—across design and production—to the sales and marketing
efforts used to maximize potential in the marketplace. No other source
provides a more complete picture of the global automotive industry. IHS
is the leading source of information, insight and analytics in critical
areas that shape today’s business landscape. IHS has been in business
since 1959 and became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock
Exchange in 2005. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, USA, IHS is
committed to sustainable, profitable growth and employs about 8,800
people in 32 countries around the world.