The autonomous tech industry is poised to explode, driving job growth and technological innovation. Everything from self-driving vehicles to automated infrastructure is sitting on a precipice of advancement that can be a truly momentous step into the era of the connected world. This week, we are focusing on some of the industry news surrounding autonomous vehicles, including the manufacturing aspect, their space in a smart city, and how major metropolitan areas initially resistant to the technology are starting to come around.
In Japan the Race is On for Self-Driving Cars
According to a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group, fully autonomous vehicles are expected to account for a quarter of all new cars by 2035 — a slice of the auto industry totaling around $77 billion.
While automakers across the globe are racing to become a leader in this new tech, no where is the competition more intense than in the auto-manufacturer rich island nation of Japan. This recent article from the San Francisco Chronicle notes that Toyota, Nissan and Honda have all made significant investments in developing autonomous tech.
The autonomous vehicle race is particularly impactful because of the major implications to not only car OEMs who have to fundamentally change the way they approach their product, but to the hardware and software companies building the technology that will support these highly sophisticated (and regulated) vehicles.
Could Owning an Autonomous Car Make You “Traffic Elite”?
If you end up being an early adopter of new autonomous tech, you may find your commute becomes shorter. ZDNet explains that a recent proposal from UC Berkeley grad students suggested the creation of a “Hyperland” — a special traffic lane reserved just for self-driving vehicles.
If you want to be in the Hyperlane, you better not mind a brisk ride as the special lanes would allow for speeds over 100mph. The traffic on the Hyperlane would be controlled by a central computer that monitors traffic congestion, speed, and other variables through advanced sensor arrays and keeps traffic flowing freely. The project will cost a cool $11.4 per mile of road, so travel will likely come with a toll to ease the financial burden.
Self-Driving Cars Job Market Booming
With so much emphasis on autonomous driving, cities are rushing to cash in on the movement. According to the Detroit Free Press, the advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicle market was around $5 billion in 2015. It’s projected to grow to $96 billion by 2025 and a staggering $290 billion by 2035.
This massive market growth has led to a number of cities across the country pitching their location as the “place to be” for autonomous tech. From Austin to Pittsburgh, automakers, OEMs and even government officials are pushing for their city as the best spot for innovation in the autonomous vehicle space.
So will it be Detroit or Silicon Valley? Or one of a host of other cities vying for a slice of this massive cash cow? Time will tell.
Better Late than Never: New York Easing Up on Laws for Driverless Vehicles
Back in 1971, New York passed a state law insisting all motor vehicles have a driver with at least one hand on the wheel at all times. Back then, this seemed that a pretty standard rule — but with the advent of self-driving cars, the rules of the game have changed.
A recent article from the Democrat and Chronicle noted that until recently, New York was the only state the explicitly banned driverless cars from its roadways. However, the state has now approved a pilot program to allow the testing of driverless vehicles under certain conditions.
State Senator Joe Robach was a vocal advocate for the new change.
“While the technology for fully driverless cars is in the future, consumers certainly appreciate the automated technology that is currently in cars, including lane assist, self-braking, hands-free park assist and collision avoidance,” he said. “The legislation that was passed earlier this year ensures that driverless cars can be tested on the roads that future consumers in our state will use them on and are tested responsibly.”
Audi of America is the first automaker to get approved for the new program, with other manufactures expected to jump on board in the coming months.