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North America is forecasted to account for 29 percent of worldwide sales of self-driving cars with human controls (Level 4) and self-driving only cars (Level 5) in 2035, or nearly 3.5 million vehicles. China will capture the second largest share at 24 percent, or more than 2.8 million units, while Western Europe will account for 20 percent of the total, 2.4 million vehicles.
Hold Your Horse Power
Of course, the study also notes some potential barriers to SDC deployment and two major technology risks: software reliability and cyber security. The barriers include implementation of a legal framework for self-driving cars and establishment of government rules and regulations.
We turned to Charles King, a principal analyst at Pund-IT, to get his take on the predictions. He told us SDCs are an intriguing idea and he can see where the use of self-driving cars could be quite valuable, particularly in urban areas where traffic congestion is an endemic problem without a decent solution. But King also offered a major caveat.
“Not to rain on anybody’s parade, but we’re living in a country currently that seems to have an aversion to investing significantly in infrastructure upgrades,” King said. “I have a feeling that despite whatever the benefits there would be from self-driving cars, just like cellular telephony and even Internet service, there are places in the U.S., let alone places globally, where the cost of deploying the self-driving infrastructure will outweigh any potential benefits from it. Will they find some success and be a significant presence over time? Yes, I think so but not to the level this study suggests.”