Henry Ford did not invent the car. At the end of 1800 years the world has seen a rush of innovation, promoted by the hundreds of companies that competed for the rapid, efficient and inexpensive mechanical transport. Ford later went to the leaders through the development pipeline, that is, the moving Assembly line. Today, this sector is ready to make another breakthrough with the advent of cars that drive themselves. But unlike the first wave of automotive innovation, the race for supremacy in the field of Autonomous transportation is concentrated among a few corporate giants. Who will be the leader this time?
Analysts in Silicon valley with SingulatityHub there are six companies that, in their opinion, lead the race to this unmanned vehicle. Three of them – General Motors, Ford and Volkswagen are starting from scratch and are large automotive companies. All they need is to simply integrate the technology of self-government in the existing fleet of vehicles of mass production. The other three are Tesla, Uber and Waymo (indirectly related to Google) – newcomers from the digital world of Silicon valley, which need to increase manufacturing capacity.
Although it is impossible to track all stages of development, each of the companies you can assess them for investment, strategic partnership and the official press releases below to learn more about what happens behind the scenes. The automotive industry typically evaluates the technology of Autonomous cars on a scale from 0 (no automation) to 5 (full automation). Let’s see how is each of the companies, and evaluate how far they are from “the five”.
Volkswagen has invested in the application to call a taxi and Gettaxi works with NVIDIA over Cipolla wingman – an artificial intelligence – for their vehicles. In 2018, the VW Group needs to run the Audi A8, the first mass-produced vehicle that has been gaining a C grade on a scale of “situational automation movement.” This means that the car’s computer will be able to support all functions of the driver, but the person must be ready to seize control at any moment.
Ford already sells cars with the autopilot level 2, “partial automation of driving”. This means that one or more aspects of driving are controlled by computer based on information about the environment, such as the combination of cruise control and maintaining lanes. Along with other investments, the company has invested $ 1 billion in Argo AI, a company developing artificial intelligence for self-governing transport. In addition to testing pizza deliveries using the Autonomous vehicle, Ford is currently testing the cars 4 levels on public roads. 4th level includes the features of “high automation” when the car can completely roll itself, but passes control under certain conditions, for example, in bad weather or on poor road surfaces.
GM also sells cars with 2 level of automation, after buying a startup Cruise Automation in 2016, but now plans to launch the first mass production car with 5 level of autonomy, which in 2019 will be ready to ride completely independently. At Cruise, the AV will not have steering wheels or pedals, so people will not be able to take control of themselves and will be forced to become part of a large fleet of unmanned taxis operating in large cities. However, the company has not yet received permission to test the vehicle on public roads.
Founded in 2009 as a special project, Waymo separated from Google (although they both belong to the Alphabet) in 2016. Although the company never made, never sold and never driven a car on a commercial basis, she was able to create the test cars that have driven over 6 million kilometers without drivers as of November 2017. Waymo tested your car level 5, Firefly from 2015 to 2017, but then decided to focus on equipment that could be installed on vehicles from other manufacturers, starting with the Chrysler Pacifica.
Creator app on call taxi Uber is experiencing Autonomous vehicles on the streets of Pittsburgh in 2016, and driving is always people in the event of a failure. After the purchase of the company’s self-driving trucks Otto in 2016, presumably, the $ 680 million, Uber is now expanding their capabilities, artificial intelligence and plans to test the latest NVIDIA chips transport Otto. Also, the company has joint developments with Volvo and Toyota.
The first major automaker from Silicon valley, Tesla was also the first who introduced the autopilot level 2 in 2015. The following year, she announced that all new Tesla will have the hardware for full autonomy, which means that after the software you can deploy it on existing cars instantly. Some experts have disputed this approach, arguing that the company just added a bulky camera, that may not be as good as laser sensors, which are used by other manufacturers.
However, the company has collected data from hundreds of thousands of cars that traveled millions of miles on any road. Therefore, you should not ignore the words of Elon musk, who promises that Tesla level 4 will travel from Los Angeles to new York without people in the first half of 2018.
Who leads in the race?
At the moment, newcomers like Tesla, Uber Waymo and, apparently, keep the palm of supremacy. While traditional carmakers are trying to bring partial automation 3 and 4 level on the market, a new company overtake them, advancing from full automation level 5. At Waymo while less experienced users in this segment, but it already can boast of a long development of the technology on public roads.
Existing brands have also focused on the complex process of integration of new technologies and business models in their existing production chain, at the expense of buying new companies. Their opponents, on the other hand, easy to meet other major players that allows you to quickly scale.
Tesla is building its own production capacity, however, collects a huge amount of critical data that will enable it to easily upgrade their cars, when need be.