Driverless cars became an important part of the automotive industry over the last few years. Mainly, they became so popular because of current traffic safety issues. More than 33,000 people die each year due to car accidents which are often caused by human error.
In order to minimize those numbers, many automotive brands have decided to either provide serious funding for driverless car projects or try and build the vehicles themselves. The most recent example is the sample Mercedes-Benz released this year, which prompted other car brands to be interested as well.
Here are 5 large companies I think deserve your investment in the near future in terms of driverless car projects.
Apple and its Titan
According to some sources, Apple started investing in a driverless vehicle some time ago and designed the Titan, a smartcar scheduled to be shipped out in 2019. This makes total sense, since the electric car was described as being “the ultimate mobile device” by Apple Senior vice president Jeff Williams.
For this project, Apple used specialized engineers familiarized with self-driving technology from Tesla and Volkswagen. They also closed a tight partnership with microchip maker Nvidia.
We have heard about this project for some time, so I think it’s safe to say we would all like to see some photos as well.
Ford Also Entered the Driverless Cars Industry
During the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Ford revealed its “Ford Smart Mobility Plan”, a strategy which will take the brand straight into the smartcar industry.
A new Ford Fusion Hybrid that is using the same semi-autonomous technology in Ford vehicles today is undergoing road testing under the tight supervision of Ford’s research team which specializes in autonomous vehicle development and is based in Silicon Valley.
“During the next five years, we will move to migrate driver-assist technologies across our product lineup to help make our roads safer and continue to increase automated driving capability,” stated Raj Nair, Ford group vice president of global product development.
The self-driving cars made by Google are already making strong first impressions in the smartcar industry.
Since their own website was already dedicated to self-driving cars, it’s no surprise that Google is currently testing a “slightly modified” Lexus SUV as well as a new prototype vehicle.
Although the major brand didn’t officially confirm that it’s building a smartcar, Google brought in car expert John Krafcik to be the leader of this project. A finished product is expected to be released by 2020.
After making history with the electric car revolution, Tesla is now also thinking about manufacturing driverless cars as well. The company developed its own autonomous driving system and plans for the technology to be implemented in 2017.
Tesla is scheduled to release an autopilot program which will feature acceleration, braking, lane changing and distance perception of other cars. It will also have a “summoning” command which will allow the car to find its owner and park itself.
“The expectation [for autopilot] is that someone is paying attention to the road and is ready to take over if there’s an issue. It’s really intended in the same way that autopilot for an aircraft works,” stated Tesla CEO, Elon Musk.
To have a highly functional car, you need chip markers that have enough knowledge and experience to support and develop this technology. This is where Mobileye comes into play. The company is already committed to supplying driver-assistance systems used by manufacturers today.
How do the systems work? They use several algorithms to send warning signals to drivers regarding incoming obstacles, while receiving images taken by a single camera which detects traffic lights, pedestrians and other vehicles. The system can also use an auto-brake. This is definitely a good start for a company that is new to the smartcar industry.
However, Mobileye hasn’t revealed any intentions of making its own self-driving vehicles.
In conclusion, there are a lot of surprises the near future holds in store for us. So, if you want to make sure you are up-to-date with any developments about driverless cars, then be sure to check out my blog as often as you can.