Look mom no hands! The roadmap to autonomous driving
The debut of autonomous vehicles dates back to before the Great Depression. The trend of self driven cars has been inching closer to reality with innovations such as back-up cameras and cruise control, however until recently it has been a futuristic pipedream only seen in Demolition Man or exclusive to Google test tracks. The ability to passively drive from Point A to B is not going to be an overnight transformation, there is a clear evolution that needs to take place before drivers will be able to recline back, close their eyes the wheel and wake up at the cottage. However, the wheels are in motion to get us there sooner than you may think.
There is already a myriad of vehicles that include Advance Drive Assist Systems (ADAS), the first mass marketing autonomous features. These features include automated braking, adaptive cruise control and lane assist with the primary responsibility of enhancing driver safety; for that reason, the adoption of ADAS should be exponential. Earlier this month, the NTSB recommended that collision-avoidance systems should become standard on new passenger and commercial vehicles. In Europe, similar protocol is being implemented by their regulating body, NCAP, 4 and 5 star safety ratings are awarded based on a scorecard, which now includes ADAS; 80% of cars sold in Europe hold a 4* or greater safety rating.
In the most technologically advanced vehicles, autonomous highway driving is already a reality, however, the driver needs to remain actively attentive. Based on forward guidance by the OEMs, by 2017, the same type of approach will be available for rural roads quickly followed by adaptions for city roads thereafter. It is still to be determined as to when a completely passive approach will be and available and legal.
The majority of advanced drive assist systems are made possible by one small camera mounted behind the rearview mirror. The market leader in the space is Mobileye, an Indian based company and recent addition to the Connect Wealth U.S. portfolio, the company has relationships with the majority of all major global OEMs allowing their technology to be present over 6 million vehicles globally. By the end of this year, Mobileye will be in 216 different car models, however, there is significant competition in the space with companies like Google and Apple developing their own self-driving cars. Because Mobileye is not developing a car, simply the technology to put in it, their advantage comes from their years of R&D that has built an unmatched inventory of big data and design experience, something large manufactures would rather purchase then invest in developing themselves. Technology competitors have already conceded the ADAS space in the medium term, and are struggling to play catch up in autonomous driving programs, allowing them to further entrench their market leadership position.
Click the link to see their technology in action https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPTIXldrq3Q