Would you buy a self-driving car if you could? Although hybrid
cars have yet to hit the mainstream, self-driving cars (SDCs) that include driver control are predicted to take off in a big way.
Indeed, global analyst firm IHS just pushed out a study that suggests SDCs will hit highways around the world before 2025. All told, there should be nearly 54 million self-driving cars in use globally by 2035.
In the study, “Emerging Technologies: Autonomous Cars -- Not If, But When,” IHS Automotive forecasts total worldwide sales of self-driving cars will grow from nearly 230 thousand in 2025 to 11.8 million in 2035. Of those, 7 million SDCs will include both driver control and autonomous control, and the other 4.8 million will use only autonomous self-driving control.
Looking further into the future, the study anticipates that nearly all of the vehicles in use after 2050 are likely to be self-driving cars or self-driving commercial vehicles.
The price premium for the SDC electronics technology will add between $7,000 and $10,000 to a car’s sticker price in 2025, a figure that will drop to around $5,000 in 2030 and about $3,000 in 2035 when no driver controls are available.
The Benefits of Self-Driving Cars
“There are several benefits from self-driving cars to society, drivers and pedestrians,” said Egil Juliussen, principal analyst for infotainment and autonomous driver assisted systems at IHS Automotive. Juliussen co-authored the study with IHS Automotive senior ADAS analyst Jeremy Carlson.
“Accident rates will plunge to near zero for SDCs, although other cars will crash into SDCs, but as the market share of SDCs on the highway grows, overall accident rates will decline steadily,” Juliussen said. “Traffic congestion and air pollution per car should also decline because SDCs can be programmed to be more efficient in their driving patterns.”
Carmakers Getting Ready
Several automakers have said publicly they will have autonomous cars by 2020, or earlier. Autonomous car technology is already affecting driver assist systems such as adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and collision mitigating brake systems.
What’s more, the IHS study says the first group of autonomous cars will have so-called Level 3 capability -- limited self-driving that enables the driver to cede full control of all safety-critical functions under certain traffic and environmental conditions. Level 3 control also includes auto pilot for highway travel and parking. Coming later in the decade will be SDCs with Level 4 capability -- self-driving but with human controls. (continued...)