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[Updated 2/27/17] Brian Solis, principal analyst of Altimeter, a Prophet Company, has tracked the autonomous industry for two years and has assembled the most comprehensive report on “The State of The Autonomous Driving.” The updated report features the latest developments among companies driving the future, including 76 automakers, startups and universities. The report also includes an infographic that organizes all of the companies by technology focus and its open to third party creative commons use. This report will be updated regularly, if you would like to contribute updates please contact Brian via email at email@example.com
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THE RACETO 2021: THE STATE OF AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES AND A “WHO’S WHO” OF INDUSTRY DRIVERS By Brian Solis, PrincipalAnalyst at Altimeter, a Prophet Company Updated: Feb 27, 2017
State of Autonomous Vehicles: Executive Summary For this market profile report, we examined the autonomous offerings of 26 auto manufacturers and 50 hardware and software providers, uncovering the following insights and trends: • Semi-autonomous vehicles are the stepping stone to fully autonomous vehicles, with most car manufacturers and technology companies taking the lead of Tesla and offering features such as self- parking, adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, and semi-hands off driving within highway/interstate conditions. Semi-autonomous features help consumers become comfortable with the idea of robots taking the wheel. • Startups and technology leaders are driving the accelerated innovation in autonomous technology, forcing incumbents to partner, acquire, or ramp up R&D to compete (e.g. BMW and Baidu; Fiat Chrysler and Waymo, an Alphabet company; and GM and Lyft). Toyota, Intel, and Mercedes-Benz have dedicated business units. Automakers are essentially getting into the software/hardware and utility business as future profits will depend less on manufacturing, selling and financing automobiles and more on monetizing driving. • Luxury car manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover, Maserati, and Porsche are looking toward a future where the driver still has an experiential role in autonomous vehicles. Cars will become platforms for passenger experience, creating a new canvas for cockpits and space. • In addition to data science, social science is also becoming prevalent in autonomous development as companies such as Nissan and Audi take an anthropological approach to teach self-driving cars to act more human in their control and on-road actions (e.g. honking, signaling other people or vehicles, moving closer to lane marketing before switching lanes).
• Large automakers, tech companies, and mobility providers are taking on "acqui- hiring" strategies, acquiring startups (or partnering with them) to absorb not only their technology but also their talent. We'll see a surge in tech jobs in the autonomous industry in coming years on the programming and development side. And, in response to all the acquisitions and partnerships, we're seeing other startups approach the market from a "plug and play" perspective; as in, their technology (hardware or software) can be easily retrofit into existing models of cars. This solidifies their position in the market without the need for a buyout, as their model works more like a supplier. • With the latest round of updates from CES, there is more focus on intelligent vehicles (e.g. Toyota, AutoLiv, Ford's concept vision video). These self-driving cars can think on their own, communicate with other vehicles (V2V) through deep learning and AI. This means that all software that exists may run into compatibility issues when asked to communicate with other systems within a vehicle. This is similar to the interoperability conundrum the industry witnessed around IoT. However, when solved for, V2V opportunities abound in improving traffic experience, reducing accidents, and new value-added in-car design components. • Mapping software has emerged as its own category among technology providers in the autonomous space, as 3D terrain mapping is a critical component to the effectiveness and safety of self-driving cars as they navigate their environments.
• Though most autonomous leaders are testing prototypes on the road in Silicon Valley, Austin, Pittsburgh and other metropoles, Honda and Hyundai are focusing their autonomous vehicle testing in large-scale controlled environments that allow for pedestrian situation testing as well as high-speed loops and simulated cityscapes. • Progressive automakers are repositioning their future foci away from just “making cars” to becoming mobility services and sharing companies, i.e. BMW, Daimler, Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, GM, Mercedes, Nissan, Tesla, VW, et al. To this trend, ride/hail companies are also attracting investments from traditional automakers to develop next-generation autonomous services. Toyota invested an undisclosed amount of money in Uber. Volkswagen AG invested $300 million in Gett, an Uber and Lyft competitor. General Motors Co. acquired a stake in Lyft. • Autonomous vehicles, to varying extents, are already operating in vertical applications such as farming, warehousing/inventory management, and construction. Uber, Tesla, and Mercedes- Benz are also experimenting with other applications of self-driving technologies in city busses and semi-trucks. • Carmakers will also become data companies, borrowing cues from Apple, Google, and Facebook to convert data into insights and customize consumer services to deliver value-added experiences. Companies such as BMW i Ventures and Toyota Research Institute are already partnering with data startups such as Nauto to share driver data as a means of more rapidly improving autonomous vehicle systems.
Update Feb 27, 2017: Additional Executive Insights • There is unprecedented collaboration between would-be competitors to accelerate the development of self-driving cars. These collaborations and individual efforts are investing in scaling self-driving technology to consumer markets by reducing technology costs. For example, Waymo’s initial implementation of LIDAR came at a cost of $80,000 per car, but recent efforts are seeking to bring those costs down to $50 at scale. LIDAR was originally touted as the go-to tech for radar mapping in self-driving cars, but now we're seeing more startups emerge that are using other vision processing technologies with longer range and higher resolution optics for better sensing. This is one reason why LIDAR is decreasing in costs, as better "seeing" technology is emerging in the market. • When analyzing automaker and vendor announcements, public policy and infrastructure, and test results, the year 2021 seems a realistic launch date for Level 5 self-driving cars from a technology perspective but not at consumer levels. Initial applications for self-driving cars will be limited to fixed public transit courses, university and business campuses, and inner-city ride/hail services where infrastructure and pedestrian laws have been adapted for safety. Consumers are largely wary of autonomous cars, with many still questioning viability, ethics, and trust. They want to drive a vehicle with semi- autonomous features, and automakers are introducing these features in waves to tame fears and humanize the technologies before fully autonomous vehicle release and adoption is feasible. • Self-driving cars are the latest "gold rush" sparked by public tests from the likes of Google and Tesla. Detroit and auto capitals around the world were pushed to accelerate self-driving programs to appear innovative and not lose brand equity.
The Five Levels of Autonomous Driving Autonomous Functions - Key automated capabilities become standard but driver still in control At least two simultaneous autonomous tasks become are managed by the vehicle in specific scenarios. • Driver in control • Eyes on the road • Hands-on the wheel or ready to be on the wheel in cruise control mode • Foot on the acceleration pedal/brake or ready in cruise control mode Vehicle in partial, temporary control (fixed scenarios) Level 0: Zero Automation - Driving as Usual A human driver is required to operate the vehicle safely at all times. • Driver in full control • Eyes on the road • Hands-on the wheel • Foot on the acceleration pedal/brake Level 1: Driver Assisted/Function-Specific - Intelligent features add layer of safety and comfort A human driver is required for all critical functions. The car can alert the driver to conditions, environment and obstructions. It can also offer assisted/smart performance and driving capabilities. • Driver in full control • Eyes on the road • Hands-on the wheel (relief offered in certain modes) • Foot on the acceleration pedal/brake (relief offered in certain modes) Vehicle aids driver Level 3 : Conditional Automation/Limited Self- Driving - The car becomes a co-pilot The vehicle manages most safety-critical driving functions in known (mapped) environmental conditions. A human driver is still present and expected to manage vehicle operation. • Driver in partial control • Eyes temporarily off the road but still observant • Hands-off the wheel in specific scenarios but at the ready • Foot off the acceleration pedal/brake but at the ready Vehicle in conditional control (known environments) Level 2: Partial Automation/Combined
Level 4 High Automation - Capable of performing all safety-critical driving functions while monitoring environments/conditions in defined use cases Per NHTSA, this is full self-driving automation. Per SAE, Self- driving is fully possible in most road conditions and environments without need of human intervention. A functional driver cockpit is still in place (steering wheel, brake/acceleration pedal, etc.) • Driver becomes passenger but can assume control • Eyes off the road • Hands-off the wheel • Foot off the acceleration pedal/brake Vehicle in control (once input is provided and in most situations) Level 5 Fully Autonomous - Vehicle is completely driverless No level 5 per NHTSA. Per SAE, full-time automated driving in all conditions without a human driver. These vehicles will not feature driving equipment and will no longer look like the vehicles of the past. • No driver Vehicle in control
That’s the year auto manufacturers have promised fully autonomous vehicles on the road. Depending on who you follow, 2021 (or 2020, in some cases) is either overly optimistic or cautiously conservative. Either way, it’s clear that startups and incumbents are racing toward a self-driving future with press and media documenting every mile- marker. What remains unclear, though, is when––and to what extent––autonomous vehicles will arrive on the roads and how consumers and commercial industries will adopt progressing levels of autonomy over time. With the increasing level of activity in the autonomous space, and more companies, products, and partnerships expected to enter the fray, mapping the ecosystem proves a complex and ongoing commitment. In our attempt to keep pace with the frequency of press announcements in the space, it became clear that information is distributed and rarely accessible in a centralized, public manner. This report serves as a comprehensive primer for those monitoring the state of autonomous vehicle development. It offers an introduction to key players, organized by industry sector, to outline initial and evolving applications for consumer markets and verticals. It will be updated at key intervals when significant announcements are made or milestones achieved.
Get Out of My Dreams and Into My [Self-Driving] Car Self-driving cars have always stoked our imaginations. From movies, to cartoons, to advertisements, autonomous vehicles portray a life only possible in science fiction or a dream to be realized off in the distant future. Though our “Jetsons” or “Minority Report” moment is still forthcoming, autonomous capabilities are arriving in increments. With each new invention, science fiction is transformed into reality, one chapter at a time. granted today also have to advance. From lanes and lights, to signs and obstructions, to rules and regulation, government, cities and manufacturers must also improve to protect people inside and outside the car. All of this needs to rapidly evolve to keep up with autonomous technologies and capabilities. Like any new technology, prices initially appeal to specialized industries such as transportation and deliveries, as well as individual consumers willing to spend big. Eventually, semi- and fully autonomous vehicles will be offered in shared and owned formats for almost everyone to enjoy. Today, aspects of self-driving cars are making their way into new models, introducingintelligent, driver-assisted features that are slowly bridging the gap between semi- and fully autonomous abilities. This is years in the making of course. Autonomous technology will ultimately change the entire automotive industry and supporting ecosystems and supply chains. Let’s consider ownership, financing, and insurance? Datashows The race toward self-driving vehicles is as much about technology as it is about infrastructure and support. Beyond sensors, cameras, processing, etc., everyday things that drivers take for
that on average, cars are parked 95% of the time.1With such downtime, traditional ownership could be considered obsolete. Shared or rental models now become more economically feasible. Users could simply summon the car on-demand or based on algorithmic patterns of need. As such, automotive financing may now shift from programs for individual ownership to shared ownership models. Or, if companies like Uber successfully transition to the self-driving economy, service providers would assume vehicle leasing/financing programs to offer personalized autonomous drivingservices. As new ownership scenarios play out, insurance and maintenance industries will also needto productize new solutions to various stakeholders. Cars will be able to drive themselves to dealership services. And, because many self-driving cars will be cateringto different stakeholders, insurance companies will stabilize potential losses in traditional income with modern, scenario-basedpremiums. Open the door, buckle up, and enjoy the ride as we explore the autonomous ecosystem. There’s a lot of to see, so think of each section as a vista point. And, don’t worry, there are rest stops along theway. “To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, iswisdom.” - Ralph WaldoEmerson 1 http://shoup.bol.ucla.edu/PayAsYouPark.htm
Audi has revealed a series of autonomous vehicleprototypes, including consumer-oriented test vehicles, based on its A7 and RS7 models. Audi is working on plans to bring its“Audi Piloted Driving” to market in its next-generation flagship model A8. Initially, the A8 will have the ability to park itself and drive autonomously up to 37 mph. Audi is also working with NVIDIA, supplier of AI driving technology, on expediting a fully autonomous vehicle program to hit the market by 2020.2 Audi announced in July 2016 a dedicated subsidiary devotedto developing autonomous driving tech called SDSCompany. Similar to Nissan’s anthropological approach to making autonomous driving more human, Audi has been teaching its robotic vehicles to drive more like humans in an effort to make them safer on the roads. For example, the car will move closerto lane markings before signaling that it is about to changelanes. Additionally, it will offer larger vehicles a wider space when passing. When another car aims to merge into its lane, thevehicle will either speed up or slow down to let them in. Engineers believe that this approach will help ease driver anxiety toward embracing autonomous vehicles over time while also behaving “normally” on the road as to not disrupt the everyday patterns of otherdrivers. 2 https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/04/nvidia-and-audi-aim-to-bring-a-self-driving-ai-car-to-market-by-2020/
BMW is actively pursuing an autonomous strategy. At CES 2016, it introduced an autonomous concept of its i8 wonder car. The company also announced that its autonomous strategy wouldbe run as part of its BMW iNEXT initiative, a shift from its BMW i EV sub-brand. In 2014, BMW forged a strategic R&D partnership with Chinese search engine Baidu. Additionally, BMW is developing a range of autonomous vehicles with different levels of human and machine control. BMW also announced a partnership with Intel and Israeli tech firm Mobileye with plans to create an open standards-based platform. As a result, BMW hopes to introduce a fleet of 40 fully autonomous 7 Series vehicles in 2017 that will drive on both highways and in urban environments in the U.S. and Europe.3 It has received permission from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test driverless cars on public streets. BMW expects a steering wheel and pedals to remain in fully self- driving vehicles, as an option for the driver to take control as needed/wanted. 3 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-04/bmw-to-deploy-fleet-of-self-driving-7-series-on-roads-this-year
Faraday Future, a California-based startup company,primarily funded by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting and his LeEco tech company, is aiming to market high-performance,autonomous electric cars. Faraday’s initial model unveiled at CES 2016 is a race-car inspired FFZero1. Sneak peeks of the latestmodel, with plans to start building in 2018,4were also teased from the company’s Twitter account in early December. Interesting features speculated based on theimages include replacement of side-view mirrors with cameras and a retractable Lidarsensor.5 In June 2016, Faraday Future received approval to test self- driving vehicles on California roads at the end of the year. Spy photographers reported in August that the companywas testing autonomous equipment in California using a Lincoln MKZ sedan. The future of Faraday is reportedly in flux though, shortages, unpaid construction payments, missed shipping deadlines, and staff departures have plagued the startup since October.6Still, at CES 2017, Faraday Future showcased its new FF 91 electric vehicle which is equipped with more than 30 advanced sensors for autonomous driving (and parking, demonstrated onsite), as well as cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensors, and a retractable LIDAR unit.7 as cash 4http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/faraday-future-electric-car-teases-continue/ 5http://www.businessinsider.com/faraday-future-ces-electric-car-teaser-images-photos-2016-12 6 Ibid. 7 http://investorplace.com/2017/01/tesla-motors-inc-tsla-stock-faraday-future-ff-91/#.WHatmbYrK3V
Even though Google (Alphabet) isn’t expected to enter the automobile manufacturing space, the company announced a dealwithFiatChryslertotestChryslerPacificaminivansasitsfirst automotive partner for its self-driving technology.8Fiat Chrysler hasn’t publicized any formal internal development, but partnering with Googleoffersbenefitsforbothcompanies. Forone,FiatChryslerintroducedadifferenttypeofmodelinto thespace,onethatboastsadditionalpassengerroomoverits competitorsandalsoautomateddoors.Thisisimportantinafuture ofautonomousvehiclesharingand“taxis”becausetherewillbe circumstanceswhenpassengersforgettoclosethedooruponexiting. Without human intervention, self-driving vehicles would become temporarily immobilized without automated features. For Alphabet, now spinning its driverless car efforts into new company Waymo, this partnership presents the opportunity to scale its technology, at significantly reduced costs,withthehelp of automotive expertise to help it meet federal regulations and mass produceitstechnologyin market-ready,consumer-orientedvehicles. At a Google press conference in December 2016, the company officiallydebutedWaymo.Priortotheevent,Bloombergpublished a reportthatWaymoandFiatChryslermaybeplanningtolauncha ridesharingservice,expectedtolaunchbeforetheendof2017.9 8 http://www.wsj.com/articles/google-fiat-chrysler-begin-work-on-self-driving-minivans-146420018090 9 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-13/google-said-to-plan-ride-sharing-service-with-chrysler-minivans-iwnox94h
Henrik Fiskerwas an early innovatorin the advancementof electrichigh performancevehicles. Launched as Fisker Automotive, the company debuted its hybrid Karma model at the 2008 North American InternationalAuto Show.After selling2,000Karmas worldwide,FiskerAutomotive met its demise. Citing major differences with management, Fisker resigned in 2013. The company subsequently for bankruptcy10,11. ChinesepartssupplierWanxiangboughtits assetsfor $149.2millionin 2014andformed Karma Automotive. In February 2014, the company’s designs, engineering, and manufacturing facility were purchasedby Chinese autoparts conglomerateWanxiang Groupfor $149.2million.12 Fisker Inc. was then re-launched in 2016 as an all-electric vehicle.13The company is now working on its EmotionEV vehicleexpectedto debutin the summerof 2017.The vehicleis designedto be a luxury electric sedan that is estimated to drive up to 400 miles on a single charge and reach a top speed of 161mph.14TheEMotionwas announcedwith autonomouscapabilitiesbutdetailsarenotyet available. 10 http://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-fisker-specialreport-idUSBRE95G02L20130617 11 http://www.law360.com/articles/510543/bankrupt-fisker-gets-nod-for-149m-sale-to-wanxiang 12 http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2014/02/18/business/ap-us-fisker- bankruptcy.html?action=click&contentCollection=Automobiles®ion=Footer&module=MoreInSection&pgtype=article 13 http://www.fiskerinc.com 14 http://fortune.com/2016/10/31/henrik-fisker-emotion-car/
In early 2015, Ford announced its “Smart Mobility Plan,” which lead to the formation of Ford Smart Mobility, LLC, in March2016, a subsidiary focused on connectivity, autonomous vehicles, and mobility (e.g. car- and ride-sharingservices). In August 2016, Ford boldly planted an autonomous flag into the foundation of the company's future. By 2021, Ford CEO Mark Fields declared the company would launch a fleet of commercial, “Level 4” autonomous vehicles for use in ride-hail services. Level 4 contains location and weather restrictions, so Ford has planned to initially implement its autonomous vehicles in ridesharing/hailing fleets in temperate weather regions in areas that have been geo-fenced and mapped in 3D high-resolution. In December 2016, the company announced its development of a new generation of hybrid Fusions that have upgraded processing power, new on-board computing hardware, and improved LIDAR sensors that deliver a better field of view. Ford’s foray into the autonomous world is aided by its acquisition of Israel-based machine learning firm SAIPS and also through strategic investments in 3D mapping startup Civil Maps. Ford and Chinese search engine company Baidu Inc., which has also invested in Uber, have independently invested $150 million in Velodyne, a company that makes the laser sensors that help guide self-driving cars. Ford also announced in Feb. 2017 its $1B investment in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence startup, marking the largest investment a traditional auto manufacturer has made in self-driving tech to date.
This move toward“self-driving cars as a service” is expected to become a notable and growing revenue generatorfor Ford over the comingyears. Ford officially plans to be a “mobility” company, not just a car manufacturer.15That statement started to gain clarity in September 2016 when CEO Mark Fields explained,16“We’re rethinking our entire business model. It’s no longer about how many vehicles we can sell, it’s about what services we can provide. We understand that the world has changed from a mindset of owning vehicles to one of owning and sharing them.” 15http://finance.yahoo.com/news/how-ford-plans-to-take- on-uber-and-lyft-175250680.html 16 https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/sep/12/ford- motors-self-driving-car-uber-google
General Motors has made aggressive moves in autonomous and ride-sharing fronts. In January 2016, the company purchased Sidecar’s assets, an early but now defunct competitor to Uber and Lyft. Additionally, GM reportedly paid upward of $1 billion for Cruise Automation, an up-and-coming start-up that promised to transform any vehicle into one that is fully autonomous. GM then invested $500 million in Lyft to develop a driverless ride-hailing service. With GM as manufacturer, Cruise Automation as the autonomous enabler, and Lyft as the logistics operator, GM is already piloting ride-hailing programs in Austin, Texas, Phoenix, and, soon, in Washington. Its first publicly available self-driving car will be the Chevy Bolt, an all-electric, long-range vehicle currently being tested as part of its Lyft pilot program. Currently, GM is testing 40 autonomous Bolts at its Technical Center campus in Warren, Mich., as well as on public roads in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Ariz. In February 2017, it was revealed that GM planned to deploy thousands of self-driving Volts with Lyft in 2018—the largest autonomous test by any automaker prior to the industry’s expected rollout in 2020.16b GM’s CEO Mary Barra also sees self-driving cars changing our driving (transit) behaviors similar to that of passengers on trains, ferries and airplanes. "Whether it's a second office or entertainment, I think there is a lot of new opportunities when you have that person in the vehicle," Barra told Business Insider.17 16bhttp://venturebeat.com/2017/02/17/gm-reportedly-plans-to-build-and-test-thousands-of-self-driving-bolts-in-2018/ 17http://www.businessinsider.com/gms-mary-barra-interview-2016-12?op=1
Looking in-house, GM also developed semi-autonomous Super Cruise technology. GM will introduce Super Cruise in high-end Cadillac models in 2017, initially offering a Tesla-like autonomous experience that allows drivers to commute in a semi-hands off capacity. The technology also features facial recognition that alerts distracted or drowsy drivers through a combination of lights, vibrations, audible warnings, and eventually an OnStar representative. If the driver remains too hands-off, the vehicle will pull itself over, stop, and flash hazard lights. General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced on December 15, 2016, that the automaker will begin testing self-driving vehicles on public roads in Michigan. Recently, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a package of bills that legalizes operation of autonomous vehicles. The goal is to bring the spotlight back to Michigan as the beacon of automotive innovation. Additionally, Barra also announced that the Orion Township assembly plant will produce its autonomous test vehicles in early 2017. This is the same plant where the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt is produced. “We expect GM will become the first high-volume auto manufacturer to build fully autonomous vehicles in a mass production assembly plant,” Barra said during a press conference.18 GM is only ramping up its self-driving efforts. The company also detailed plans to hire 700 engineers in Canada focused on autonomous vehicle software and controls development, safety technology, infotainment, and connected vehicle technology. 18http://fortune.com/2016/12/15/gm-self-driving-cars-michigan/
Honda is taking a different approach to its autonomousprogram than others we’ve covered. In early 2016, the company debuted an affordable $20,000 semi-autonomous model of its Civic LX Sedan.19Similar to Tesla and Mercedes-Benz models, the Civic will feature advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) which offers lane keeping and changing assistance, automatic braking, and adaptive cruisecontrol. Honda also took over a Naval base and turned it into the “GoMentum Station,” which serves as the testing ground for its autonomous fleet. Whereas BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo/Uber, GM/Lyft, and the like, have been granted permission to test drive autonomous vehicles in Silicon Valley, Nevada, and Austin, Honda has private, self-contained access to 20 miles ofeveryday road types, intersections, and infrastructure that emulate the real world. It also has the ability to change the roads and environments to simulate driving conditions in othercountries. The company recently demonstrated its modified Acura RLX “Automated Drive” vehicle in a variety of scenarios including one with pedestrians crossing the street and a mannequin situated in the middle of the road. The target date forHonda’s autonomous vehicle is 2020. 19 http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-20-000-self-driving-vehicle-hits-the-road-1457913797
In December 2016, Honda announced it is in talks with Alphabet’s Waymo to test self-driving technology, teaming up to supplement its own automation efforts. With Waymo, Honda may provide vehicles modified to accommodate the startup's software (similar to Fiat Chrysler). It also said there was potential for "close" cooperation between Honda and Waymo engineers, reports Reuters.20 20http://www.reuters.com/article/us-google-autonomous-honda-idUSKBN14A2DO
Hyundai is ramping up autonomous vehicle development on multiple fronts, led by the Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Similar to Fiat Chrysler, the company is partnering with Google as an autonomousplatform to develop a self-driving car and accelerate time to market. Additionally, Hyundai is moving into an abandonedbomber factory complex outside Detroit, which is available for use by automakers and suppliers to work on autonomous and connected-car technologies. This complementsHyundai’s course in the California desert that gives it access to high-speed loops and simulatedcityscapes. Hyundai is also introducing in its G90 flagship sedan introductory semi-autonomous features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, emergencybraking, pedestrian detection, active blind-spot detection, andadditional technologies to “reduce driverfatigue.”
Similar to other driving experience-centric automobile manufacturers such as Maserati, Mazda, Nissan, Porsche, and the like, Jaguar Land Rover isn’t the most enthusiastic about self-driving cars taking all the fun away from drivers. Instead, the company is collecting data to understand how to make self-driving cars more human. For starters, it launched a research fleet of 100 cars to test drive a 41-mile route in centralEngland. “Customers are much more likely to accept highly automated and fully autonomous vehicles if the car reacts in the same way as the driver,” said Dr. Wolfgang Epple, director of research and technology at Jaguar Land Rover, in a statement. “By understanding and measuring positive driving behaviors, we can ensure that an autonomous Jaguar or Land Rover of the future will not simply perform a roboticfunction.” The data is also intended to help inform insurance policies. For example, insurance experts will have the ability to assess liability in particular scenarios based on real-world driving datasupplied by the testfleet.21 21http://fortune.com/2016/02/02/jaguar-self-driving-cars/
Inside Silicon Valley, many credit Google with pioneering self- driving vehicles. Outside of Silicon Valley, many cite JohnDeere as helping to accelerate the self-driving vehiclerevolution. Technically speaking, John Deere is the largest operator of autonomous vehicles––albeit, farming vehicles and tractors. While not as technically advanced as many of the current self- driving automobiles in development, John Deere has been marketing autonomous tractors and equipment for more than 15 years. Initially, the company used satellite technology tohelp farmers plot courses for tractors to driveautomatically. Because these vehicles operate in fields, the threat to road safety is under the same scrutiny as automakers. As a result, the path of least resistance for self-driving technology was the farm. Currently technologies still require a driver, butfully autonomous farm vehicles arecoming. John Deere isn’t alone in this space. Case IH is considered a primary competitor along with lesser known companies. Autonomous Tractor Corporation (ATC) markets eDriveand AutoDrive retrofit kits that offer the ability to safely take over navigation and control. The industry as a whole is prototyping vehicles that will continue to innovate and plow toward thefuture.
Local Motors based in Phoenix, Ariz., combines open-sourced designs from its 60,000-member online community and micro-factories around the world for manufacturing of autonomous vehicles. In June 2016, Local Motors unveiled Olli, a self-driving EV shuttle that integrates the advanced cognitive computing capabilities of IBM Watson. Olli can operate on-demand via mobile app or on a pre-planned route, and its cognitive software allows it to answer riders’ questions about its capabilities, status, and why it made a particular decision.22 In late 2016, global design firm Stantec partnered with Local Motors to provide a full suite of services in the delivery of Olli. It will be targeted for use by transit agencies, cities, states, universities, hospitals and the private sector.23Deutsche Bahn has been testing Olli at the Euref Campus, an innovation center for developing sustainable urban solutions, and is planning a test run in Germany.24 22http://azbigmedia.com/ab/local-motors-stantec-partner-self-driving-vehicles 23Ibid. 24http://www.3ders.org/articles/20170116-local-motors-3d-printed-autonomous-bus-heads-to-germany.html
California-based Lucid Motors, founded in 2007, will finally break ground in 2017 in Arizona, building a $700 million factory to produce a new line of electric vehicles. The company was anearly pioneer in advanced lithium-ion battery technology. Former Tesla executive Peter Rawlinson, now Lucid’s chief technology officer, is moving the company toward a high-performance marketwith a 1,000-horsepower vehicle with an expected range of 400miles per charge. The prototype is said to follow Tesla’s lead in that it will include self-drivingcapabilities. In a press event in November 2016, Rawlinson revealed that self-driving is in the car’s DNA, “We’re very mindful of thisnew paradigm of shared mobility and autonomy and we’re designing for that right from the core.” The vehicle is said to feature ultrasonic sensors, longshore range cameras and radar, and a full set ofLIDARs. Rawlinson said that in the near-term, there are no plans to remove the steering wheel out of the car. Instead, Lucid seeks to blend autonomy with driver enthusiasm, stating, “We’ll have a clearly autonomous ready system pending legislativefreedom and partnership with a software supplier. I can see us becoming ready as soon as it’s possible, but it’s probably not going to happen until 2019, early’20.”
Like Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda sees a role for the driver in the future of autonomous vehicles. Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai explained in January 2016 why the company is not working onan autonomous program, “It’s not just getting from point A topoint B. Our mission is to provide the essence of drivingpleasure.” But later in 2016, Mazda would change course. In Spring2016, North American Chief Executive Masahiro Moro explainedthat Mazda would take a human-centric approach to autonomous driving. In an interview with Motoring.com.au, he explained, “I think autonomous driving is an important technology, but how we deploy and how we use that technology is different from a leading company… Autonomous driving technology helps if anything happens with the driver, he becomes unconscious or is feeling bad or so on. Then the technology of autonomous driving will override to pull over or go home. So this is the way we will use autonomous driving technology — still a human- centricapproach.” Over the coming years, the company plans on releasing semi- autonomous technology features to augment safety andcomfort, such as emergency braking, radar-based adaptive cruise control, lane monitoring,etc.
Mercedes-Benz was an early adopter of disruptive technologies, signaled by its opening of an R&D center in Silicon Valley in 1995.25Officially operating as The Mercedes- Benz Research & Development North America (MBRDNA), the facility employs about 150 full-time digital designers, researchers, and engineers running prototypes. Among many things, the company is working on apps, infotainment, autonomous driving, and battery technology. When it comes to autonomous innovation, the company has actively experimented with its S500 Intelligent Drive programfor quite some time. It is a fully autonomous experiment on wheels, legally driving around sanctioned streets in Silicon Valley— with lead and chase vehicles guiding it, of course. However, its long-term investment has it ahead of the pack andarguably made its technology a worthy rival of Tesla’s Autopilot andself- driving innovation. At CES 2016, Mercedes-Benz debuted the Intelligent Drive E-Class. The company demonstrated bothfully and semi-autonomous features during a 70-mile stretch in the Nevadadesert. 25http://www.briansolis.com/2016/07/we-live-in-a/
Mercedes also launched an autonomous bus in July 2016 with “CityPilot,” which the company claims is, “a milestone on the way to the autonomous city bus,and a revolutionary mobility system for the future.” CityPilot is a software platform for autonomous driving in urban public transport. CityPilot, in tests, already recognizes traffic lights, obstacles (especially pedestrians on theroad), and can brake autonomously. It also approaches bus stops automatically and opens and closes its doors forpassengers.
Mitsubishi demonstrated a self-driving car concept in October 2015. The video showed a vehicle navigating a test track without a driver, maneuvering through tight turns andobstacles difficult for human drivers. The concept uses satellite data and high definition 3D mapping to navigate roads. The video also highlighted the ability to “remote” park itself with the driver standing outside thecar. The company hopes to introduce a self-driving car in 2020. Current reports cite that Mitsubishi is adapting technologies originally developed by Mitsubishi Electric Corp. for military use (e.g. millimeter-wave radars, sonars, sensors, andcameras–– some used to guide missiles) to help self-driving cars detect obstacles and avoidcollisions.26 Bloomberg spoke to Katsumi Adachi, Senior ChiefEngineer at Mitsubishi’s automotive division. In the interview,Adachi explained the company’s unique approach, “All we have to dois to put together the components that we already have. None of our competitors have such a wide array ofcapabilities.” 26http://www.autonews.com/article/20160330/COPY01/303309940/mitsubishi-unit-adapts-military-tech-for-self-driving-cars
NextEV is a Chinese EV startup that announced in October 2016 the opening of its Silicon Valley headquarters and intent to enter the electronic vehicle market.27The company is also involved in the Formula E electric race car platform.28NextEV is rapidly developing an all-electric $1 million supercar. It is also actively investing in autonomous technology led by Jamie Carlson, a veteran firmware engineer and early member of Tesla’s Autopilot team.29Carlson initially made headlines when he departed Tesla to join Apple’s Project Titan.30Carlson joins former Tesla executive Kurt Thywissen, who was the company’s Senior Engineering Manager of UI & Autopilot Software. Thywissen is now Senior Director of Human- Machine Interaction at NextEV. 27https://electrek.co/2016/10/19/chinese-ev-startup-nextev-opens-silicon-valley-headquarters/ 28https://electrek.co/guides/formula-e/ 29https://electrek.co/2016/10/21/nextev-hires-former-top-tesla-and-apple-autonomous-driving-engineer/ 30https://9to5mac.com/2015/08/21/apple-car-hire-tesla/
Nissan is rolling out semi-autonomous features in phases, as part of its “Propilot” system, starting this year. The first phase will introduce assisted steering and braking on highways. By 2018, Nissan will introduce a multi-lane navigation function similar to what is available on current Tesla and certain Mercedes-Benz models. In 2020, it plans to add the capability for the vehicle to navigate city driving and intersections without driver intervention. By that time, the Renault-Nissan Alliance plans to launch more than 10 models with advanced autonomous driving functionalities in the United States, Japan, Europe, and China.
Researchers from Nissan and NASA are concurrently working on autonomous driving systems and human- machine interface projects over the next five years. The goal is to develop software that can be used in both cars and planetary rovers. Nissan is also taking a human-centered approach to autonomous driving by hiring Melissa Cefkin, principal scientist and design anthropologist at the Nissan Research Center in Silicon Valley. As a corporate and design anthropologist who specializes in ethnography, she studies people and cultures from the viewpoint of the subject. In the case of autonomous vehicles, Cefkin takes a fresh look at how humans interact with “a deeply and profoundly cultural object,” in this case the car, to gain insights into how new technologies might interpret or act on thosebehaviors. Additionally, Cefkin’s work in analyzing human driving interactions helps the company ensure that its autonomous fleet is prepared to be a “good citizen” on theroad.
Though still in semi-stealth mode, Nuro.ai’s plans involve creating a Level Four autonomous vehicle, launched between 2018-2020, as well as other transportation-related products. The company was co- founded by two former top executives of Google’s self-driving car project: Jiajun Zhu and Dave Ferguson. According to Recode, Nuro.ai’s team also includes engineers with robotics, AI, and self-driving experience who had a hand in an unusually wide range of products including Nexus cameras, Google Image search, the Mars Exploration and Curiosity Rovers, Google street view, Google’s self-driving cars, and a number of surgical tools.31 31http://www.recode.net/2016/9/15/12921542/google-self-driving-startup-nuro
Porsche’s CEO Oliver Blume famouslytold a German newspaper that Porschehad no plans to build a self-driving car. “One wants to drive a Porsche by oneself,”said Blume to Westfalen-Blatt. “An iPhone belongs in your pocket, not on theroad.” At the Paris Motor Show in September 2016, Porsche unveiled itsTesla-rivalling Mission E, with plans to hit the marketin 2020. Speaking to AutoExpress, Blume confirmed that future Porsche models will indeed offer autonomousfeatures. However, a fully autonomous vehicle is not planned. In the interview, he maintained that the ability for owners to enjoy driving their car is essential. He also provided examples where a driver may choose to read a newspaper while stuck in a trafficjam or prefer to have the vehicle be able topark itselfremotely.
TheFrenchmultinationalmanufacturerofPeugeot,Citroen,andDSannouncedthatLevel2driverassistance systems would be available by 2018 and fully autonomous vehicles by 2021. In the short-term, vehicles will featureanintelligentsystemthatcanassumecontrolfromthedriverifitdetectsanylapseinattentiondue tofatigueorinattentiontoreducetheriskofanaccident.PSAGroupCEOCarlosTavareswarnedin2016 that he was unsure that automobile manufacturers could profit from autonomous cars by the early 2020s “becauseofthehugeamountoftechnologyyouneedtomaketheseproductsdrivesafely,”heexplained. In April 2016, PSA Group successfully road-tested two Citroën C4 Picasso autonomous vehicles in level 3 “eyesoff” modefor morethan 300 kilometersbetweenParis andAmsterdam.This was done withoutdriverinteractionbut insteadsupervision,requiringthedriverto solely verifythatthesystemsare functioning properly. Since then, the company has grown to four Citroën C4 Picasso demonstrators on the road, traveling more than 60km autonomously, and 10 autonomous test vehicles in total.32PSAGroup is also working with the System-X and Vedecom research institutes, and the CTAG automotive centre of Galiciain Spain to ensuresafeoperationsbetweendriversandself-drivingcars. The PSAGroup becamethe first carmakerin July 2015 to obtainthe necessaryapprovalsto test its self- drivingcarsontheopenroadin France. 32http://media.groupe-psa.com/en/communiqu%C3%A9s-de-presse/innovation-technologie/psa-group-demonstrators
Subaru is working toward fullyautonomous vehicles by introducing significant driver- assist features along the way. Oneof the company’s most advanced features currently available is its EyeSight system. EyeSight monitors traffic and driving activity to assist with a variety of safety and comfort features, ranging from cruise control to active braking, to lane monitoring. EyeSight will act as the core of the company’s semi- autonomous efforts with its next driver aid feature focusing on traffic jam assist. Thecar will drive itself in start/stop situations up to 40mph initially with the ability to also follow curves. By 2020, Subaru said it will introduce a semi-autonomous driving function for highway driving. That system will allow automated lane changing andautomated steering aroundcurves.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes that any car that’s not autonomous in the near future is obsolete. In a call with Wall Street analysts in 2015, he famously asserted, “Any cars that are being made that don’t have full autonomy will have negative value. It will be like owning a horse. You’re really owning it for sentimentalreasons.” Tesla has been among the more aggressive of thebunch, and is one of the primary reasons we are seeing so many announcements in2016. Tesla was the first to unlock its hidden, innovative, and also controversial Autopilot feature that set the worldabuzz.
In Autopilot’s current adaptation, the car can assume control of steering, braking and switching lanes, but it does so with the full expectation that the driver will be at the ready to take over if necessary. This doesn’t stop people from pushing the boundaries of what’s responsible though, with some drivers napping or moving to the back seat to test or show-off the feature. Unfortunately, in July 2016, the first fatality occurred in a self-driving car, when a Tesla Model S plowed into a semi- truck that made a turn in front of the vehicle. Autopilot was engaged at the time of impact, and the vehicle did not “see” the white truck against a bright, white sky in time to stop. Since the accident, Tesla and Mobileye have severed ties. On Sept. 11, Tesla unveiled a planned upgrade to Autopilot with enhanced software to utilize the radar system on its vehicles to better see surroundings and road conditions. While the vehicle isn’t fully autonomous yet, Tesla has done the most work introducing the world of self-driving features⎯and, it’s helping drive Tesla demand in the process. Currently considered “Level 2” autonomous technology, Tesla Autopilot requires drivers to beengaged. The company stunned the automotive industry yet again on October 19 when it announced that all Model S, X, and 3 vehicles will ship standard with all necessary hardware and software for an eventually fully autonomous mode. While the capability will be turned off for now, Tesla will introduce features over time as it, and government regulations, deem them safe. In July 2016, Elon Musk also revealed plans to explore Tesla Semi development to bring electric trucks to market. In his “Master Plan, Part Deux,” Musk wrote, “We believe the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety, and making it really fun to operate.” It’s widely speculated that its heavy-duty trucks will feature specialized versions of its Autopilot technology used in its current line-up of vehicles.
Toyota announced the creation of the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) in January 2016, a $1 billion investment in AI to develop autonomous driving capabilities. The company is taking a human approach, literally, to machine development. Toyota is studying human drivers to teach cars how to drive themselves. In an interview with BusinessInsider, head of data at TRI Jim Adler shared his perspective on a human approach to self-driving: “Humans are very good drivers. If you look at the fatality rate, it’s like one death in 100 million miles driven. That’s humbling. We need to learn from drivers. If you look at how machines are trained, they’re not trained by rules. They’re trained by example.”33 At CES 2017, Toyota unveiled its “Concept-i,” a futuristic vehicle with its main feature a built-in AI assistant called Yui. While the car offers some early autonomous features, its AI focus aims to assist the driver instead of taking over completely, reports AutoEvolution.34 Additionally, Toyota has pledged $1 billion to a university-led program dedicated to studying artificial intelligence, robotics, and reducing driver fatalities. The company has invested in three research partnerships to date, including the University of Michigan,35Stanford in Palo Alto,36and MIT in Cambridge.37 Toyota, like other manufacturers, is diversifying its investments. The company, which has also invested in Uber, along with the Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations, announced a group to collaborate on the development of future taxicab technologies. 33http://www.techrepublic.com/article/toyota-teaches-cars-to-drive-by-studying-human-drivers/ 34 http://www.autoevolution.com/news/toyota-calls-the-industry-s-bluff-on-autonomous-driving-at-ces-114375.html 35 http://www.engin.umich.edu/college/about/news/stories/2016/august/accelerate-artificial-intelligence-research 36 https://www.technologyreview.com/s/541046/toyota-investing-50m-with-stanford-mit-for-autonomous-car-research/ 37 http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2015/11/06/387751.htm
Volvo announced in 2016 that it joined forces with Autoliv Inc., a supplier of vehicle safety systems. The joint venture, which was finalized in January 2017, is dubbed Zenuity and will build new software for autonomous drive systems and ADAS.38 Volvo plans to sell a self-driving vehicle to consumers in five years. The company will sell autonomous vehicles with asteering wheel, but consumers can pay upward of $10,000 extra for a full autopilot system where the car will be able to drive itself. Volvo is testing cars on public roads in Sweden and plans to expand public tests in London and China in2018. Concurrently, Volvo is working with Uber, who together are contributing a combined $300 million to the project. As part of the agreement, the companies will co-developautonomous technology with vehicles going into Uber’s self-drivingservice and also becoming part of Volvo’s fleet for consumer ownership. The duo began piloting self-driving Volvo SUVs for Uber pickups in Pittsburgh earlier thisyear.39 38http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/autoliv-and-volvo-cars-sign-final-agreement-to-form-joint-venture- 300384515.html 39http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2016-08-18/uber-s-first-self-driving-fleet-arrives-in-pittsburgh-this-month- is06r7on
Volkswagen is admittedly a late-comer to the autonomous party. In an interview with the Economic Times, Digital Chief Johann Jungwirth voiced the company’s commitment to innovation, “We have a massive need to now work with thesame passion for detail and the same focus on software and services as on hardware (cars).” Through its Audi brand,the company is developing a fully self-driving car rather than introducing incremental semi-autonomous features (see Audiprofile, earlier in this report). As a result, VW will “massively expand” its presence in Silicon Valley according to Jungwirth. Furthermore, VW is planning acquisitions in the market for new transportation technologies and services. Recently, VW invested$300 million in ride-hailing company Gett, which competes with Uber andLyft.
Auro offers an autonomous shuttle marketed to college campuses (currently only in Santa Clara, with plans to expand in 2017). As of November 2016, the shuttle runs 100% autonomously. For the time being, an Auro field engineer rides along, ready to take control of the slow-moving (7mph) campus vehicle if necessary. Eventually Auro will be gradually transition to remote supervision. The bus offers a large emergency stop button for passengers to hit in case of need, according to IEEE Spectrum.40 Auro shuttle software gathers information from onboard LIDARs, as well as cameras for use in its deep-learning project aimed at interpreting pedestrian intent. Similar to the Olli bus, Auro will eventually offer an app for calling the shuttle on- demand, as well as expanded routes with stops closer to student housing. Auro will be operated as a subscription service sold to college campuses for a flat rate.41 40http://spectrum.ieee.org/view-from-the-valley/transportation/self-driving/autonomous-shuttle- brakes-for-squirrels-skateboarders-and-texting-students 41 Ibid.
Apple invested $1 billion in Didi in May 2016. In July, Uber China merged with Didi Chuxing. Currently, there is no formal self- driving initiative that’s been announced. Though, there is speculation aroundrecent partnerships andinvestments, as well as the company’s stated emphasis on artificial intelligence that indicates otherwise. In an interview with Bloomberg, Didi Chuxing President Jean Liu shared, “The next phase for us isreally to invest more in artificial intelligence and machine learning.”
Cambridge-based NuTonomy is aiming to be the first company in the world to design and launch an autonomous taxi service. NuTonomy launched its initial trials in Singapore in August 2016. Much like Uber’s public Pittsburgh trials, the company seeks to get feedback from the cars and passengers to inform and expedite a launch as soon as 2018. This plan was fortified through a strategic partnership with Grab, an Uber rival. This approach is similar to what Uber and Volvo are testing in Pittsburgh and GM and Lyft in Phoenix.