Friday, January 10, 2014

Taking over the driver's seat - another study predicts uptake of autonomous vehicles

There are man benefits to the self-driving car, and these will drive acceptance once such vehicles clear regulatory hurdles.

Several traditional car makers are embarking on autonomous-vehicle projects, and are by the likes of Google and other major industry suppliers. IHS is only predicting self-driving cars to make up two-tenths of a percent of sales in 2025, with price premiums of $7,000 to $10,000. By 2035, 9.2-percent of new vehicles sold will be autonomous, as prices are driven down to a mere $3,000 more than a traditionally controlled vehicle.

“There are several benefits from self-driving cars to society, drivers and pedestrians,” says 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 says. “Traffic congestion and air pollution per car should also decline because SDCs can be programmed to be more efficient in their driving patterns.”

Ford, for example, has initiated work on its own autonomous vehicle as well as a solar-powered hybrid plug-in outfitted with silicon panels right on the roof. The Ford C-MAX Solar Energi concept car gets an estimated EPA mileage rating of 100 mpg, and its rooftop array is capable of generating 300 watts. For the self-driving Fusion, Ford replaced the bulky LIDAR units on current autonomous vehicles are four smaller scanners. Linked together, the LIDAR units compose a 360-degree, three-dimensional view of the surroundings, processing the information and allowing the vehicle to accelerate, brake, and steer without driver intervention.

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