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Autonomous Vehicles Could Account for a Third of US Auto Sales by 2035

It’s a question of “not if but when,” says new study.

by on Jan.03, 2014

A recent study expects 11.8 million self-driving cars will be on the roads by 2030.

They’ve long been the stuff of science fiction, but a new study predicts that once they come to market in the near future, autonomous vehicles will rapidly become a very popular reality.

The study, titled “Emerging Technologies: Autonomous Cars — Not If, But When,” predicts that by 2035, self-driving cars, or SDCs, will account for half the vehicles sold in North America. Worldwide sales will reach about 11.8 million, according to IHS Automotive, which prepared the report. By 2050, the consulting firm predicts, almost all vehicles will offer an autonomous mode.

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Officials at Nissan recently promised to put their first autonomous vehicles into production by 2020, and a number of other makers have since made similar announcements. The IHS report notes that the first generation of these vehicles will actually require a human co-pilot to sit at the ready in case the technology develops a problem – much like an aircraft autopilot. But it anticipates truly independent, self-driving vehicles requiring no human involvement will begin to be offered by 2030. (more…)

Europe to Support Autonomous Driving Project

“Utopian” plans to allow vehicles to drive themselves.

by on Oct.23, 2009

A new European program could put convoys of autonomous cars on the road within a decade.

A new European program could put convoys of autonomous cars on the road within a decade.

The European Union is launching a new project, dubbed SARTE, that will push the development of technology enabling vehicles to drive themselves in long “trains” on the highway.

Tom Robinson, SARTRE project coordinator for Ricardo UK Ltd., which plans to participate in the new project, said the technology has the potential to improve traffic flow, offer greater comfort to drivers, reduce accidents, and improve fuel consumption and cut CO2 emissions.

“The SARTRE project brings together a unique mix of technologies, skills and
expertise from industry and academia, with the aim of encouraging the development of safe and environmentally effective road trains,” Robinson said.

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There have been a number of autonomous vehicle projects, around the world, in recent years, including one that embedded road transponders on a stretch of interstate highway near San Diego.  This was used to help guide specially-equipped vehicles, including several prototype Buicks.