Driverless Cars & Autonomous Vehicles - Designers, Developers and Manufacturers
Here are some of the main companies who we are seeing as active in Autonomous driving, driverless car technology, design and manufacture. This is in no particular order and we will add to this regularly, so please check back often. Let us know if you have a suggestion that we have missed. Even if you are a relatively small Autonomous vehicle startup, we would like to hear from you and we will be pleased to add your entry. Tweet this
GM appears to have gone further than some other Automotive OEMS, with a recent announcement of its Cruise Autonomous vehicle, that is withought a steering wheel. Surely the definition of a Driverless car. This vehicle is currently at the level 4 stage of Autonomy. GM have made it fairly clear that they wish to launch some kind of limited driverless technology soon. They will adopt a turnkey approach, undertaking the entire car design & manufacture, along with the Software development.
The company also has plans in place to launch a fleet of self-driving taxis in some of the Worlds larger cities, during 2019. General Motors CFO claims that the market during this time will be worth several hundreds of billions of dollars. They have also sought permission from the US department of Transport permission to begin an autonomous car ride-hailing service.
Please refer to General Motors
The wide ranging VW group are now working with Aurora Innovation who have comprehensive Autonomous driving technology including software and hardware.
Perhaps unknown to many, Volkswagen has undertaken substantial road testing mileage, only being exceeded by that of Waymo.
Tesla is already a technologically successful commercial entity and it's drivers have been used to semi-autonomous driving with "Autopilot" for a number of years. Tesla's leader claims that their new vehicles will utilise “the world's most advanced computer designed specifically for autonomous operation.” Since August, Tesla have been producing their own version 9 software, which will allow for fully autonomous self-driving features to be incorporated on the vehicle. That in itself certainly does not mean that the vehicles will be fully autonomous from August, but just refers to the potential for future self-driving integration down the line. This will require added technology and of course cost.
Chinese Automotive OEM BYD and technology giant Baidu inc. recently announced that they will join forces to produce self-driving cars in three years' time, which shows an emerging pattern of partnership for future Autonomous vehicle development and production. The first vehicle will use Baidus Project Apollo for the software platform.
Audi will develop Autonomous vehicles with Chinese tech giant Huawei. During a recent conference in Shanghai, the first AV prototype was introduced, which is an Audi Q7 fitted out with a range of Huawei self-driving electronics and software, known as MDC. This is designed to meet common Urban driving scenarios.
Huawei famously demonstrated how their Artificial intelligence linked smartphone could successfully drive a Porsche Panamera vehicle autonomously, including full object recognition and collision avoidance.
See Audi entry
The parent company of Mercedes-Benz, Daimler have announced they will launch an autonomous taxi in the early part of the 2020s. They have gained the necessary permits to do real road testing in Germany, the USA and China. They have produced various autonomous vehicle prototypes in partnership with Bosch.
Their Automated Valet Parking system, utilises a smartphone app to autonomously drop off passengers, park and collect them and claimed to be the world's first infrastructure-assisted automated solution for such a service.
Please see the Daimler entry
Baidu also has its own self-driving car, the Qing Pro, which functions on the Apollo software platform. The Baidu CEO claimed that Apollo can prevent 9 out of 10 traffic accidents, plus reduce travel times and fuel consumption by 40 %. He also claimed that a big focus on the development of Apollo was on security.
One of Chinas largest Car producers, SAIC Motor unveiled its first self-driving or intelligent connected vehicle, called the iGS, at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show. SAIC now has two separate autonomous vehicle developments, one in China and one in Silicon Valley, both looking at different areas of technology within the vehicle. The company is closely partnering with key players, including Momenta, Intel, Mobileye, Wuhan Kotei to develop its vehicles. They also have a particular emphasis on Mapping and Navigation, underpinned with a partnership with DeepMap and Civil Maps
SAIC has gained a licence from the Chinese authorities that permits its intelligent-connected vehicles to undergo public road testing and has also received permission to test its driverless cars on California's roads. They have announced a target date of 2020 for partial autonomous rollout on selected roads and environments and full implementation by 2025.
Ford also wish to build fully autonomous vehicles, with no traditional operator controls, including no steering wheel. They will also work with various tier one suppliers and emerging technologies to achieve this goal.
Waymo formerly started as Google's self-driving car project in 2009 and has been working on driverless car technology for three times longer than the other AV players. The Company have over 4 million miles of autonomous road testing on actual public roads. This includes cars and vans and far exceeds any other vehicle manufacturers testing mileage totals.
The fact that Waymo has issued a public safety report to the federal government, which presents their detailed technology, puts them ahead of their rivals and would seem to underpin the general perception of the companies capability which may also extend to a level of safety.
Toyota are very active, but are placing more emphasis on MaaS, seeking to become a total provider of mobility services, rather than just designing and manufacturing vehicles. This includes providing its driverless technology with partners such as Amazon, Uber (see their summary below) and Pizza Hut.
This is not withought some thought. They realise that personal car ownership will decrease and autonomous vehicle ride-hailing is thought to become an eye watering $3tn revenue earner by the middle of the century, according to key study experts, including Strategy Analytics.
Ubers first plan for their self-driving car development back in 2016, involved providing its own technology and total control and operation of its own fleet of driverless vehicles. Recent announcements are that things will change, starting with a $500 million investment from Toyota. Uber will now provide its self-driving technology to a new fleet of Toyota vehicles, which will also be fitted with Toyota’s Guardian safety software. It has not yet been decided who will operate the fleets, Uber, Toyota, or possibly a third party.
In 2017 the PSA group was the first vehicle OEM to gain permission from the French authorities to test its autonomous vehicles on public roads in France. The group is developing its own Autonomous architecture to improve the safety of its driverless vehicles. There is also an emphasis on the security of the vehicle data.
Aptiv actually bought their own specialist company in Self driving software, called NuTonomy. This company is thought to have innovative autonomous technology and could well put Aptiv in a similar stage of advanced product development as Waymo. Nutonomy has also been concentrating in driverless taxi trials in non US areas and hopes to be in production during 2019
Jingchi.ai was founded in April 2017 and is heavily invested in Artificial Intelligence technology. The company was founded in the USA, but their initial goal is to create vehicles with level 4 Autonomy for the Chinese market.Earlier this year they successfully completed road trials in their first Autonomous vehicle, the Jingchi GE3, which has been jointly developed with the Guangzhou Automobile Group
As well as vehicles, their aim is to look at the overall development of smart, safe, efficient, affordable, leisurely transportation and mobility.
BMW are now working on their first production autonomous level 3 vehicle known as the iNext, due for release in 2021. Like many other makers, this will be initially for the fleet market based on a driverless ride sharing MaaS type business model. BMW will be working with partners, Intel and Mobileye who will provide the camera and sensor technology.
Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi
These brands are all working on a ride-hailing car-sharing service, but with a much longer and some say, a more realistic timescale of 10 years. It will however begin a driverless Taxi service Trial in Japan in 2018.
Volvo is working with other Autonomous technology providers, Autoliv, Ericsson and Zenuity in developing a self-driving platform that focuses on high safety integration from the vehicle systems and software to the surrounding infrastructure and other traffic. The company is also keen to share innovations with the many emerging startups. There is possibly much more to Volvos driverless vehicle activities than many people realise.
Changan successfully completed a 2000 kilometer road test in 2016, using their level 2 vehicle, the CS55 which uses its Integrated Adaptive Cruise Control autonomous technology, or IACC. The company claim that this will be the first production vehicle in China to be equipped with such technology.
The production vehicle will be known as the SNAP and as befits a true driverless vehicle, it has no steering wheel and has a detachable passenger pod. Given the Harman pedigree, infotainment, intelligence, connectivity and personalisation will be key strengths. The concept car was shown at the Geneva Motor show back in May 2018.
This AV start up has largely been a mystery to many but the keenest of industry watchers. They are based in Silicon Valley and claim that they will not only develop Autonomous vehicle technology, but will also build the vehicles themselves. Its first vehicle products may well end up delivering a ride sharing service, similar to Lyft and Uber.
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