Autonomous Vehicle Sales Expected to Hit 5 Million by 2026

Sales of fully autonomous vehicles in the US are expected to rise over the next eight years, reaching 5 million by 2026, according to a report from analyst firm Juniper.

The report, “Autonomous Vehicles & ADAS: Readiness Index, Player Positioning & Forecasts 2018-2026,” projected the global market would account for 20 million new AVs sold during that same year.

Juniper expects market adoption of AV technologies to accelerate in the near future, driven by major investments from legacy automotive OEMs such as Volvo, Audi, Daimler and GM, who are repositioning themselves as mobility services firms.

Competition from the likes of Google, whose focus has been on entirely driverless vehicles through its Waymo division, is also expected to be a major driver of AV market growth.

Another major factor will be drivers getting used to advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), platforms that can help with lane changing, parking and backing out of driveways.

Juniper estimates that 45 million on-road vehicles will have some form of ADAS functionality by the end of 2018, with adoption reaching 100 million by 2020.

“We are already seeing parking assistance being promoted by Vauxhall on the Corsa compact car and Volkswagen with its Tiguan model,” Juniper associate analyst Michael Larner told The Connected Car. “In the near future remote parking will capture consumers’ imagination — like having your own valet.”

Larner noted that it’s a case of the ADAS features that deliver the wow factor rather than the features that are working behind the scenes scanning the environment.

He pointed to features like traffic jam assist, which could take the stress out of being stuck in traffic and give the driver a break.

“One imagines there will be adverts about how the driver can utilize the time — having a snack, let’s say — but the manufacturers will need to be mindful that they don’t encourage the driver to ignore the road,” Larner said.

The firm also ranked the five most promising players in the driverless car sector, with Waymo, Volvo, Tesla, Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler and German rival Audi leading the race.

Juniper ranked companies based on development time, public trials, miles tested, fleet size, and consumer awareness, noting Google was further ahead than traditional manufacturers in terms of technology and miles tested.

The report also noted Waymo could soon be integrated into smart city strategies for public transportation and could license its expertise to other OEMs — a potential threat to the role of the Tier 1 suppliers.

In regard to a timeline for seeing more sophisticated ADAS features — currently found only on luxury brands — trickling down to the mid-market, Larner said he would expect them to be available in mass-market vehicles within the next two years.

“Nissan and Toyota are not too far behind the German manufacturers as they are in the process of trialing their respective ADAS systems on motorways in Japan,” he said.

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