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Autonomous vehicles are commonly known as driverless vehicles which are able to operate themselves as well as perform all the vital functions without the need for human intervention with the help of AI control units receiving inputs from different sensors. Such vehicles use a fully automated driving system that allows the vehicle to react and respond to external stimuli just as a human driver would by monitoring a wide range around the car forming a 3D map. The signals form inputs and facilitate the electric drive train to respond.
Self-driving cars work by combining a variety of sensors for the surrounding stimuli such as the lidar, radar, sonar, odometry as well as inertial measurement units. The advanced control systems incorporated in the vehicles interpret the information from sensors to navigate appropriately and identify obstacles. Automation is achieved on the basis of different levels of automation, as the levels of automation increase, the driverless extent of the vehicle increases in regards to operation and control. Most of these cars create a map of their surroundings in order to work efficiently.
One of the major features of this technology is the adaptive cruise control (ACC) with the help of which, the system controls the vehicle’s speed to ensure a safe distance from obstacles and other vehicles. The function operates on the inputs from the different sensors incorporated in the vehicle. The signals are interpreted and processed through the DSP and AI core processors which provide the necessary responsive action.
The six levels of automation are described below:
The global autonomous electric vehicle market is segmented based on different categories and levels of automation which are given below:
The market for autonomous electric vehicles globally is estimated to grow at the CAGR of XX% to be worth $XX billion by the year 2026. The growth is mainly due to the companies that have started to resume their operations after relaxation from the pandemic.
The rising development of smart city initiatives across the world has been driving the automotive market. Electric autonomous vehicles facilitate the reduction of pollution and greenhouse emissions in smart cities and help reduce global warming. By using autonomous technology, traffic accidents can be reduced by a whopping 90% which significantly increases the safety of the roads.
Some countries in the North American region are now developing digital infrastructure in order to promote communication between connected vehicles to reduce traffic and improve safety on roads. The AI core processor companies are developing at a fast pace to incorporate the demands of the people and resolute safety concerns over autonomous technology.
Safety concerns over this technology and cybersecurity are the leading factors that plunge the growth of autonomous vehicles. Hackers can break the firewalls put up by companies and steal data by exposing the routes of the self-driven vehicles which are a major threat to the safety of passengers.
For instance, in the year 2018, Arizona reported the first case of killing a pedestrian by an autonomous car due to a cybersecurity hack. In July 2020, some of the cybersecurity research associates hacked into the electric drive system of a Jeep Cherokee, they accessed the infotainment system of the vehicle by wireless control giving them power over the steering, transmission, and brakings commands over the ADS system.
Leading developers for AI systems incorporated in vehicles are now focusing on strengthening security concerns and minimizing cybersecurity hacks in order to facilitate the growth of this market.
Another factor affecting the growth of this market is the infrastructural unavailability of 5G networks which makes connected car technology obsolete as then autonomous vehicles are unable to communicate with each other and form a 3D navigation map of the surroundings. There are several factors that hinder the growth of this market and create distrust among customers. For instance, recently the Toyota self-driving shuttle service was suspended to be used in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as the vehicle e-Palette struck a visually impaired pedestrian.
The autonomous industry is set to receive massive grants and initiatives to emerge in the defense segment due to the rising demand for such vehicles. For instance, in April of 2019, the United States Army announced plans to deploy combat trucks with autonomous technology to minimize casualties and accidents.
The global automotive market for the automotive sector was affected significantly by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first half of the year 2020 witnessed a drop in new car registrations for EVs which was about a third from the same half of the previous year due to the restrictions put in place and lockdowns across the world. The production and manufacturing units of OEMs were at a halt until the relaxation in COVID protocols which affected the business gravely.
However, the decrease was offset partially by the strong activity in the second half of the year 2020 which recovered the market and resulted in a low drop of 16% year-on-year overall basis. With the new car sales of conventional vehicles dropping, the global electric car sales rose to 4.6% after the pandemic.
The autonomous vehicle sector has also suffered a hit due to the halt in the manufacturing units and research centers across the globe. With the companies struggling to meet the ends, the investments in this sector have decreased from the previously estimated value making it difficult for the sector to prosper. However, with the recovering market and increasing demand for new technologies OEMs are presented with incentives to produce more.
Several factors have contributed to the increase in registrations and recovery of the market in spite of the COVID-19 repercussions in the year 2020. Electric autonomous vehicles have gradually become more competitive in some of the countries as per the total cost of ownership. Governments across the globe have provided incentives that have buffered the purchases in the electric vehicle market.
Tesla has announced the development of its dependable fully self-driving (FDS) system with version 9 to be launched soon in the future models of the company. The company also recently discarded the use of radar sensors in order to incorporate the fully camera-based system known as Tesla Vision. The company has surpassed $1 billion in its quarterly profit for the April-June quarter of 2021 for the first time setting a milestone. Its revenue nearly doubled to about $12 billion from the last year earning $1.02 per share. It now boasts a market value of approximately $630 billion which is greater than any automaker. Its Model Y LR has been sold out for new car registrations for the third quarter of 2021.
General Motors announced the opening of the company’s China Advanced Design Center after the completion of a major investment up-gradation which will allow the plant to double the design capacity. The facility will be used to develop the company’s all-new electric as well as autonomous vehicles in China. The company also announced a partnership with AT&T to introduce 5G cellular connectivity for vehicles produced by the company; it will be available in vehicles starting from 2024. The company recently released the financial results for the second quarter of the year 2021 with revenue worth $34.2 billion with an adjusted EBIT of $4.1 billion, the quarter saw an increase from the same quarter of 2020 which reported revenue worth 416.8 billion.
General Motors has introduced its new Super Cruise autonomous technology features for some of the models such as the Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac CT4, Cadillac CT5, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, and others which will be available by the year 2022. The new features include trailering, automatic lane change, and enhanced navigation display. The company has plans to invest almost $71 million to establish a new advanced center for design operations in California. The company announced that it will increase the investments in the development of electric and autonomous vehicles by the year 2025 with $35 billion which represents an almost 75% increase from the initial investments.
The Volkswagen Group recently announced the financial results for the first half of the year 2021 with sales revenue worth EUR 40.7 billion which was a whopping 42.4% increase from the same quarter of the previous year with revenue worth EUR 28.6 billion. The operating profit of the company was recorded as EUR 1.8 billion. The group’s subsidiary Porsche Engineering is using game engines to develop intelligent vehicle systems. The games engine generates photorealistic images to help develop automated driving features. Porsche and Rimac have also come into a joint venture to incorporate Bugatti. The Volkswagen group reported deliveries of more than 342,000 BEV as well as PHEV slit 50/50 in the second quarter of 2021. The figures have increased at a tremendous rate of over 260% for BEVs and 227% for PHEVs. They have sold the maximum number of cars in Europe acquiring 26% of the market share followed by the US and China for the year 2021.
The autonomous driving company Cruise which is a start-up by General Motors announced that several investors, as well as Walmart, have joined its previously announced investment round raising the capital to $2.75 billion. The company is also set to be the exclusive partner provider of self-driving ride-hailing services in Dubai. The company has also acquired the company Voyage to advance the company’s self-driving services with the world’s most advanced self-driving technology.
Daimler AG has partnered with Waymo to develop autonomous SAE level 4 trucks which will incorporate Waymo’s leading automated driving technology in the company’s Freightliner Cascadia class 8 truck.
Apple has announced plans to sign a deal with the joint automotive venture of LG and Magna named the LG Magna e-Powertrain. The venture will produce the initial rounds of the Apple Car production which will be introduced by the year 2025
The Volvo Group has announced a partnership with the self-driving startup Aurora with plans to jointly develop class 8 autonomous trucks for the North American market.
The BMW Group has reported more than doubled the sales volume to 83,000 in the second quarter of 2021 and 153,000 in the first quarter of 2021. The share of plug-in EVs has increased by a whopping 11.85% of the total BMW volume. With 36,089 BEVs and 117,178 PHEVs sold in the first half of the year 2021, the sales for the group have been up by 183.9% and 139.4% respectively during this year.
The autonomous vehicle manufacturing company Motional announced a joint agreement with Lyft to introduce the world’s biggest fleet of robotaxi ride sharing networks to be launched by the year 2023. The plans are to incorporate Hyundai Ioniq 5 as the vehicle for the service in some selected cities in the US. The automaker Motional was established in the year 2019 which was a result of the joint venture between Aptiv and Hyundai worth $4 billion.
Toyota Motor group’s subsidiary Woven Planet has announced the completion of the acquisition of the level 5 self-driving division of rideshare company Lyft incorporation. The company has also announced a partnership with Apex.AI, a software systems development company to help in the development and deployment of a production-ready autonomy stack, Woven Planet will use Apex.OS for Arene.
The company Gatik which is a specialized B2B short-hauling trucking company has announced plans to introduce autonomous electric trucks in its delivery fleet. The company’s partner in the project is Walmart which has its own set of electrification and autonomous projects. Walmart has pre-ordered Tesla Semi as well as Cruise to incorporate autonomous delivery for its customers. Gatik has also partnered with Loblaw to deploy Canada’s first autonomous delivery fleet.
Ford Motors announced the increase in investments for the electric and autonomous vehicle manufacturing department which will be worth $29 billion by the year 2025. The bifurcation will be at least $22 billion for electric vehicles and $7 billion for autonomous vehicles.
Embark Trucks Incorporation has announced plans to revolutionaries the automotive trucking industry by introducing an autonomous driving software platform that can be incorporated into any type of vehicle be it electric, hybrid, or conventional ICE. The company’s model will be financed from the recent merger with SPAC to enhance driverless transport.
The company Foretellix has recently closed the series B funding round with investments worth $32 million for the development of testing, verification, and validation platform for automated driving systems raising the total investment to $50 million, the round was led by MoreTech Ventures.
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