Navigant Research recognizes four leaders in the development of automated driving systems
A new Leaderboard Report from Navigant Research examines the strategy and execution of 18 companies developing automated driving systems, with Waymo, Ford Autonomous Vehicles, Cruise, and Baidu ranked as the leading market players.
According to the research, with the distinct exception of Tesla, 2019 was the year that most of the automated driving (AD) sector acknowledged that the self-driving problem was turning out to be significantly more difficult than previously believed. Although advancements in various software approaches generally lumped under the heading of artificial intelligence led to improvements in the performance of AD perception systems, they are not ready to eliminate human drivers.
Although several companies have taken tentative steps to expand beyond pilot public testing programs to initial commercialization, it is reported that even leaders such as Waymo were extremely cautious. New entrants into the field from the technology industry have recognized that the approach of introducing a minimum viable product and continuously iterating on it might not be viable with safety critical systems. In the wake of the fatal 2018 Uber crash in Arizona and multiple crashes of Tesla vehicles with varying degrees of autopilot functionality, there is an increased emphasis on safety first.
According to the report, several startups went out of business and several of the larger players in the segment consolidated their efforts. Across the board, as the technical teams continue development on the core technology, companies are putting more focus on developing viable business models for the commercialization of AD.
“These four companies are already well along in terms of the development of the core AD systems technology and have accumulated several years of real-world development and validation,” said Sam Abuelsamid, Principal Research Analyst with Navigant Research. “They have also supplemented their technological capabilities with prominent plans to deploy automation for automated mobility services, including in-house development of such services.”
Consumer surveys continue to show a significant degree of skepticism toward AD. Although public demonstrations of these systems improve attitudes to the technology, these demonstrations are limited in scope, falling far short of what consumers expect of these systems in real-world environments. Tesla has acknowledged that its so-called Full Self-Driving capability may still need some degree of human supervision for a time. At the January 2020 reveal of the Cruise Origin automated vehicle (AV), Cruise CEO Dan Ammann acknowledged that the current performance of AD systems still falls short of exceeding human driving levels.
As a result, the timelines for large-scale deployments of AD technology are slipping further toward the mid-2020s. This delay helps ensure public and regulator sentiment toward the technology is not poisoned by a premature launch. There is likely to be further consolidation in the industry in the next several years, as companies hope to get economies of scale on their investments by combining with partners. Many of the companies included in this ranking are likely to be the beneficiaries of this consolidation.
The report, “Navigant Research Leaderboard: Automated Driving Vehicles,” examines the strategy and execution of 18 leading AD system companies. These players are rated on 10 criteria: vision; go-to market strategy; partners; production strategy; technology; sales, marketing, and distribution; product capability; product quality and reliability; product portfolio; and staying power.
For more information, visit www.navigantresearch.com.