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The Race to 2021: The State of Autonomous Vehicles and a "Who's Who" of Industry Drivers


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[Updated 2/27/17] Brian Solis, principal analyst of Altimeter, a Prophet Company, has tracked the autonomous industry for two years and has assembled the most comprehensive report on “The State of The Autonomous Driving.” The updated report features the latest developments among companies driving the future, including 76 automakers, startups and universities. The report also includes an infographic that organizes all of the companies by technology focus and its open to third party creative commons use. This report will be updated regularly, if you would like to contribute updates please contact Brian via email at

Published in: Automotive

The Race to 2021: The State of Autonomous Vehicles and a "Who's Who" of Industry Drivers

  1. 1. By Brian Solis, Principal Analyst at Altimeter, a Prophet Company Updated: Feb 27, 2017 THE RACE TO 2021: THE STATE OF AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES AND A “WHO’S WHO” OF INDUSTRY DRIVERS
  2. 2. State of Autonomous Vehicles: Executive Summary For this market profile report, we examined the autonomous offerings of 26 auto manufacturers and 50 hardware and software providers, uncovering the following insights and trends: • Semi-autonomous vehicles are the stepping stone to fully autonomous vehicles, with most car manufacturers and technology companies taking the lead of Tesla and offering features such as self- parking, adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, and semi-hands off driving within highway/interstate conditions. Semi-autonomous features help consumers become comfortable with the idea of robots taking the wheel. • Startups and technology leaders are driving the accelerated innovation in autonomous technology, forcing incumbents to partner, acquire, or ramp up R&D to compete (e.g. BMW and Baidu; Fiat Chrysler and Waymo, an Alphabet company; and GM and Lyft). Toyota, Intel, and Mercedes-Benz have dedicated business units. Automakers are essentially getting into the software/hardware and utility business as future profits will depend less on manufacturing, selling and financing automobiles and more on monetizing driving. • Luxury car manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover, Maserati, and Porsche are looking toward a future where the driver still has an experiential role in autonomous vehicles. Cars will become platforms for passenger experience, creating a new canvas for cockpits and space. • In addition to data science, social science is also becoming prevalent in autonomous development as companies such as Nissan and Audi take an anthropological approach to teach self-driving cars to act more human in their control and on-road actions (e.g. honking, signaling other people or vehicles, moving closer to lane marketing before switching lanes).
  3. 3. • Large automakers, tech companies, and mobility providers are taking on "acqui- hiring" strategies, acquiring startups (or partnering with them) to absorb not only their technology but also their talent. We'll see a surge in tech jobs in the autonomous industry in coming years on the programming and development side. And, in response to all the acquisitions and partnerships, we're seeing other startups approach the market from a "plug and play" perspective; as in, their technology (hardware or software) can be easily retrofit into existing models of cars. This solidifies their position in the market without the need for a buyout, as their model works more like a supplier. • With the latest round of updates from CES, there is more focus on intelligent vehicles (e.g. Toyota, AutoLiv, Ford's concept vision video). These self-driving cars can think on their own, communicate with other vehicles (V2V) through deep learning and AI. This means that all software that exists may run into compatibility issues when asked to communicate with other systems within a vehicle. This is similar to the interoperability conundrum the industry witnessed around IoT. However, when solved for, V2V opportunities abound in improving traffic experience, reducing accidents, and new value-added in-car design components. • Mapping software has emerged as its own category among technology providers in the autonomous space, as 3D terrain mapping is a critical component to the effectiveness and safety of self-driving cars as they navigate their environments.
  4. 4. • Though most autonomous leaders are testing prototypes on the road in Silicon Valley, Austin, Pittsburgh and other metropoles, Honda and Hyundai are focusing their autonomous vehicle testing in large-scale controlled environments that allow for pedestrian situation testing as well as high-speed loops and simulated cityscapes. • Progressive automakers are repositioning their future foci away from just “making cars” to becoming mobility services and sharing companies, i.e. BMW, Daimler, Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, GM, Mercedes, Nissan, Tesla, VW, et al. To this trend, ride/hail companies are also attracting investments from traditional automakers to develop next-generation autonomous services. Toyota invested an undisclosed amount of money in Uber. Volkswagen AG invested $300 million in Gett, an Uber and Lyft competitor. General Motors Co. acquired a stake in Lyft. • Autonomous vehicles, to varying extents, are already operating in vertical applications such as farming, warehousing/inventory management, and construction. Uber, Tesla, and Mercedes- Benz are also experimenting with other applications of self-driving technologies in city busses and semi-trucks. • Carmakers will also become data companies, borrowing cues from Apple, Google, and Facebook to convert data into insights and customize consumer services to deliver value-added experiences. Companies such as BMW i Ventures and Toyota Research Institute are already partnering with data startups such as Nauto to share driver data as a means of more rapidly improving autonomous vehicle systems.
  5. 5. Update Feb 27, 2017: Additional Executive Insights • There is unprecedented collaboration between would-be competitors to accelerate the development of self-driving cars. These collaborations and individual efforts are investing in scaling self-driving technology to consumer markets by reducing technology costs. For example, Waymo’s initial implementation of LIDAR came at a cost of $80,000 per car, but recent efforts are seeking to bring those costs down to $50 at scale. LIDAR was originally touted as the go-to tech for radar mapping in self-driving cars, but now we're seeing more startups emerge that are using other vision processing technologies with longer range and higher resolution optics for better sensing. This is one reason why LIDAR is decreasing in costs, as better "seeing" technology is emerging in the market. • When analyzing automaker and vendor announcements, public policy and infrastructure, and test results, the year 2021 seems a realistic launch date for Level 5 self-driving cars from a technology perspective but not at consumer levels. Initial applications for self-driving cars will be limited to fixed public transit courses, university and business campuses, and inner-city ride/hail services where infrastructure and pedestrian laws have been adapted for safety. Consumers are largely wary of autonomous cars, with many still questioning viability, ethics, and trust. They want to drive a vehicle with semi- autonomous features, and automakers are introducing these features in waves to tame fears and humanize the technologies before fully autonomous vehicle release and adoption is feasible. • Self-driving cars are the latest "gold rush" sparked by public tests from the likes of Google and Tesla. Detroit and auto capitals around the world were pushed to accelerate self-driving programs to appear innovative and not lose brand equity.
  6. 6. The Five Levels of Autonomous Driving
  7. 7. The Five Levels of Autonomous Driving Level 0: Zero Automation - Driving as Usual A human driver is required to operate the vehicle safely at all times. • Driver in full control • Eyes on the road • Hands-on the wheel • Foot on the acceleration pedal/brake Level 1: Driver Assisted/Function-Specific - Intelligent features add layer of safety and comfort A human driver is required for all critical functions. The car can alert the driver to conditions, environment and obstructions. It can also offer assisted/smart performance and driving capabilities. • Driver in full control • Eyes on the road • Hands-on the wheel (relief offered in certain modes) • Foot on the acceleration pedal/brake (relief offered in certain modes) Vehicle aids driver Level 2: Partial Automation/Combined Autonomous Functions - Key automated capabilities become standard but driver still in control At least two simultaneous autonomous tasks become are managed by the vehicle in specific scenarios. • Driver in control • Eyes on the road • Hands-on the wheel or ready to be on the wheel in cruise control mode • Foot on the acceleration pedal/brake or ready in cruise control mode Vehicle in partial, temporary control (fixed scenarios) Level 3 : Conditional Automation/Limited Self- Driving - The car becomes a co-pilot The vehicle manages most safety-critical driving functions in known (mapped) environmental conditions. A human driver is still present and expected to manage vehicle operation. • Driver in partial control • Eyes temporarily off the road but still observant • Hands-off the wheel in specific scenarios but at the ready • Foot off the acceleration pedal/brake but at the ready Vehicle in conditional control (known environments)
  8. 8. Level 4 High Automation - Capable of performing all safety-critical driving functions while monitoring environments/conditions in defined use cases Per NHTSA, this is full self-driving automation. Per SAE, Self- driving is fully possible in most road conditions and environments without need of human intervention. A functional driver cockpit is still in place (steering wheel, brake/acceleration pedal, etc.) • Driver becomes passenger but can assume control • Eyes off the road • Hands-off the wheel • Foot off the acceleration pedal/brake Vehicle in control (once input is provided and in most situations) Level 5 Fully Autonomous - Vehicle is completely driverless No level 5 per NHTSA. Per SAE, full-time automated driving in all conditions without a human driver. These vehicles will not feature driving equipment and will no longer look like the vehicles of the past. • No driver Vehicle in control
  9. 9. That’s the year auto manufacturers have promised fully autonomous vehicles on the road. Depending on who you follow, 2021 (or 2020, in some cases) is either overly optimistic or cautiously conservative. Either way, it’s clear that startups and incumbents are racing toward a self-driving future with press and media documenting every mile- marker. What remains unclear, though, is when––and to what extent––autonomous vehicles will arrive on the roads and how consumers and commercial industries will adopt progressing levels of autonomy over time. With the increasing level of activity in the autonomous space, and more companies, products, and partnerships expected to enter the fray, mapping the ecosystem proves a complex and ongoing commitment. In our attempt to keep pace with the frequency of press announcements in the space, it became clear that information is distributed and rarely accessible in a centralized, public manner. This report serves as a comprehensive primer for those monitoring the state of autonomous vehicle development. It offers an introduction to key players, organized by industry sector, to outline initial and evolving applications for consumer markets and verticals. It will be updated at key intervals when significant announcements are made or milestones achieved.
  10. 10. Get Out of My Dreams and Into My [Self-Driving] Car Self-driving cars have always stoked our imaginations. From movies, to cartoons, to advertisements, autonomous vehicles portray a life only possible in science fiction or a dream to be realized off in the distant future. Though our “Jetsons” or “Minority Report” moment is still forthcoming, autonomous capabilities are arriving in increments. With each new invention, science fiction is transformed into reality, one chapter at a time. Today, aspects of self-driving cars are making their way into new models, introducingintelligent, driver-assisted features that are slowly bridging the gap between semi- and fully autonomous abilities. This is years in the making of course. The race toward self-driving vehicles is as much about technology as it is about infrastructure and support. Beyond sensors, cameras, processing, etc., everyday things that drivers take for granted today also have to advance. From lanes and lights, to signs and obstructions, to rules and regulation, government, cities and manufacturers must also improve to protect people inside and outside the car. All of this needs to rapidly evolve to keep up with autonomous technologies and capabilities. Like any new technology, prices initially appeal to specialized industries such as transportation and deliveries, as well as individual consumers willing to spend big. Eventually, semi- and fully autonomous vehicles will be offered in shared and owned formats for almost everyone to enjoy. Autonomous technology will ultimately change the entire automotive industry and supporting ecosystems and supply chains. Let’s consider ownership, financing, and insurance? Data shows
  11. 11. that on average, cars are parked 95% of the time.1 With such downtime, traditional ownership could be considered obsolete. Shared or rental models now become more economically feasible. Users could simply summon the car on-demand or based on algorithmic patterns of need. As such, automotive financing may now shift from programs for individual ownership to shared ownership models. Or, if companies like Uber successfully transition to the self-driving economy, service providers would assume vehicle leasing/financing programs to offer personalized autonomous driving services. As new ownership scenarios play out, insurance and maintenance industries will also needto productize new solutions to various stakeholders. Cars will be able to drive themselves to dealership services. And, because many self-driving cars will be catering to different stakeholders, insurance companies will stabilize potential losses in traditional income with modern, scenario-based premiums. Open the door, buckle up, and enjoy the ride as we explore the autonomous ecosystem. There’s a lot of to see, so think of each section as a vista point. And, don’t worry, there are rest stops along the way. “To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, iswisdom.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson 1
  12. 12. Autonomous Driving Applications v1.0
  14. 14. Audi has revealed a series of autonomous vehicleprototypes, including consumer-oriented test vehicles, based on its A7 and RS7 models. Audi is working on plans to bring its“Audi Piloted Driving” to market in its next-generation flagship model A8. Initially, the A8 will have the ability to park itself and drive autonomously up to 37 mph. Audi is also working with NVIDIA, supplier of AI driving technology, on expediting a fully autonomous vehicle program to hit the market by 2020.2 Audi announced in July 2016 a dedicated subsidiary devotedto developing autonomous driving tech called SDS Company. Similar to Nissan’s anthropological approach to making autonomous driving more human, Audi has been teaching its robotic vehicles to drive more like humans in an effort to make them safer on the roads. For example, the car will move closerto lane markings before signaling that it is about to changelanes. Additionally, it will offer larger vehicles a wider space when passing. When another car aims to merge into its lane, thevehicle will either speed up or slow down to let them in. Engineers believe that this approach will help ease driver anxiety toward embracing autonomous vehicles over time while also behaving “normally” on the road as to not disrupt the everyday patterns of other drivers. 2
  15. 15. BMW is actively pursuing an autonomous strategy. At CES 2016, it introduced an autonomous concept of its i8 wonder car. The company also announced that its autonomous strategy would be run as part of its BMW iNEXT initiative, a shift from its BMW i EV sub-brand. In 2014, BMW forged a strategic R&D partnership with Chinese search engine Baidu. Additionally, BMW is developing a range of autonomous vehicles with different levels of human and machine control. BMW also announced a partnership with Intel and Israeli tech firm Mobileye with plans to create an open standards-based platform. As a result, BMW hopes to introduce a fleet of 40 fully autonomous 7 Series vehicles in 2017 that will drive on both highways and in urban environments in the U.S. and Europe.3 It has received permission from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test driverless cars on public streets. BMW expects a steering wheel and pedals to remain in fully self- driving vehicles, as an option for the driver to take control as needed/wanted. 3
  16. 16. Faraday Future, a California-based startup company, primarily funded by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting and his LeEco tech company, is aiming to market high-performance, autonomous electric cars. Faraday’s initial model unveiled at CES 2016 is a race-car inspired FFZero1. Sneak peeks of the latest model, with plans to start building in 2018,4 were also teased from the company’s Twitter account in early December. Interesting features speculated based on the images include replacement of side-view mirrors with cameras and a retractable Lidar sensor.5 In June 2016, Faraday Future received approval to test self- driving vehicles on California roads at the end of the year. Spy photographers reported in August that the company was testing autonomous equipment in California using a Lincoln MKZ sedan. The future of Faraday is reportedly in flux though, as cash shortages, unpaid construction payments, missed shipping deadlines, and staff departures have plagued the startup since October.6 Still, at CES 2017, Faraday Future showcased its new FF 91 electric vehicle which is equipped with more than 30 advanced sensors for autonomous driving (and parking, demonstrated onsite), as well as cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensors, and a retractable LIDAR unit.7 4 5 6 Ibid. 7
  17. 17. Even though Google (Alphabet) isn’t expected to enter the automobile manufacturing space, the company announced a dealwith FiatChryslerto testChryslerPacificaminivansas its first automotive partner for its self-driving technology.8 Fiat Chrysler hasn’t publicized any formal internal development, but partnering with Googleoffersbenefitsforbothcompanies. For one,FiatChryslerintroduceda differenttypeof modelinto the space,one thatboastsadditionalpassengerroomoverits competitorsand alsoautomateddoors.Thisis importantin a future of autonomousvehiclesharingand “taxis”becausetherewill be circumstanceswhenpassengersforgetto closethe dooruponexiting. Without human intervention, self-driving vehicles would become temporarily immobilized without automated features. For Alphabet, now spinning its driverless car efforts into new company Waymo, this partnership presents the opportunity to scale its technology, at significantly reduced costs,with the help of automotive expertise to help it meet federal regulations and mass produceits technologyin market-ready,consumer-orientedvehicles. At a Google press conference in December 2016, the company officiallydebutedWaymo.Priorto the event,Bloombergpublished a reportthatWaymoand FiatChryslermay be planningto launcha ridesharingservice,expectedto launchbeforethe end of 2017.9 8 9
  18. 18. Henrik Fisker was an early innovator in the advancement of electric high performance vehicles. Launched as Fisker Automotive, the company debuted its hybrid Karma model at the 2008 North American InternationalAuto Show. After selling 2,000 Karmas worldwide, FiskerAutomotive met its demise. Citing major differences with management, Fisker resigned in 2013. The company subsequently for bankruptcy10,11. Chinese parts supplier Wanxiang bought its assets for $149.2 million in 2014 and formed Karma Automotive. In February 2014, the company’s designs, engineering, and manufacturing facility were purchased by Chinese auto parts conglomerate Wanxiang Group for $149.2 million.12 Fisker Inc. was then re-launched in 2016 as an all-electric vehicle.13 The company is now working on its Emotion EV vehicle expected to debut in the summer of 2017. The vehicle is designed to be a luxury electric sedan that is estimated to drive up to 400 miles on a single charge and reach a top speed of 161mph.14 The EMotion was announced with autonomous capabilities but details are not yet available. 10 11 12 bankruptcy.html?action=click&contentCollection=Automobiles&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&pgtype=article 13 14
  19. 19. In early 2015, Ford announced its “Smart Mobility Plan,” which lead to the formation of Ford Smart Mobility, LLC, in March2016, a subsidiary focused on connectivity, autonomous vehicles, and mobility (e.g. car- and ride-sharing services). In August 2016, Ford boldly planted an autonomous flag into the foundation of the company's future. By 2021, Ford CEO Mark Fields declared the company would launch a fleet of commercial, “Level 4” autonomous vehicles for use in ride-hail services. Level 4 contains location and weather restrictions, so Ford has planned to initially implement its autonomous vehicles in ridesharing/hailing fleets in temperate weather regions in areas that have been geo-fenced and mapped in 3D high-resolution. In December 2016, the company announced its development of a new generation of hybrid Fusions that have upgraded processing power, new on-board computing hardware, and improved LIDAR sensors that deliver a better field of view. Ford’s foray into the autonomous world is aided by its acquisition of Israel-based machine learning firm SAIPS and also through strategic investments in 3D mapping startup Civil Maps. Ford and Chinese search engine company Baidu Inc., which has also invested in Uber, have independently invested $150 million in Velodyne, a company that makes the laser sensors that help guide self-driving cars. Ford also announced in Feb. 2017 its $1B investment in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence startup, marking the largest investment a traditional auto manufacturer has made in self-driving tech to date.
  20. 20. This move toward“self-driving cars as a service” is expected to become a notable and growing revenue generatorfor Ford over the comingyears. Ford officially plans to be a “mobility” company, not just a car manufacturer.15 That statement started to gain clarity in September 2016 when CEO Mark Fields explained,16 “We’re rethinking our entire business model. It’s no longer about how many vehicles we can sell, it’s about what services we can provide. We understand that the world has changed from a mindset of owning vehicles to one of owning and sharing them.” 15 on-uber-and-lyft-175250680.html 16 motors-self-driving-car-uber-google
  21. 21. General Motors has made aggressive moves in autonomous and ride-sharing fronts. In January 2016, the company purchased Sidecar’s assets, an early but now defunct competitor to Uber and Lyft. Additionally, GM reportedly paid upward of $1 billion for Cruise Automation, an up-and-coming start-up that promised to transform any vehicle into one that is fully autonomous. GM then invested $500 million in Lyft to develop a driverless ride-hailing service. With GM as manufacturer, Cruise Automation as the autonomous enabler, and Lyft as the logistics operator, GM is already piloting ride-hailing programs in Austin, Texas, Phoenix, and, soon, in Washington. Its first publicly available self-driving car will be the Chevy Bolt, an all-electric, long-range vehicle currently being tested as part of its Lyft pilot program. Currently, GM is testing 40 autonomous Bolts at its Technical Center campus in Warren, Mich., as well as on public roads in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Ariz. In February 2017, it was revealed that GM planned to deploy thousands of self-driving Volts with Lyft in 2018—the largest autonomous test by any automaker prior to the industry’s expected rollout in 2020.16b GM’s CEO Mary Barra also sees self-driving cars changing our driving (transit) behaviors similar to that of passengers on trains, ferries and airplanes. "Whether it's a second office or entertainment, I think there is a lot of new opportunities when you have that person in the vehicle," Barra told Business Insider.17 16b 17
  22. 22. Looking in-house, GM also developed semi-autonomous Super Cruise technology. GM will introduce Super Cruise in high-end Cadillac models in 2017, initially offering a Tesla-like autonomous experience that allows drivers to commute in a semi-hands off capacity. The technology also features facial recognition that alerts distracted or drowsy drivers through a combination of lights, vibrations, audible warnings, and eventually an OnStar representative. If the driver remains too hands-off, the vehicle will pull itself over, stop, and flash hazard lights. General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced on December 15, 2016, that the automaker will begin testing self-driving vehicles on public roads in Michigan. Recently, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a package of bills that legalizes operation of autonomous vehicles. The goal is to bring the spotlight back to Michigan as the beacon of automotive innovation. Additionally, Barra also announced that the Orion Township assembly plant will produce its autonomous test vehicles in early 2017. This is the same plant where the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt is produced. “We expect GM will become the first high-volume auto manufacturer to build fully autonomous vehicles in a mass production assembly plant,” Barra said during a press conference.18 GM is only ramping up its self-driving efforts. The company also detailed plans to hire 700 engineers in Canada focused on autonomous vehicle software and controls development, safety technology, infotainment, and connected vehicle technology. 18
  23. 23. Honda is taking a different approach to its autonomous program than others we’ve covered. In early 2016, the company debuted an affordable $20,000 semi-autonomous model of its Civic LX Sedan.19 Similar to Tesla and Mercedes-Benz models, the Civic will feature advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) which offers lane keeping and changing assistance, automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control. Honda also took over a Naval base and turned it into the “GoMentum Station,” which serves as the testing ground for its autonomous fleet. Whereas BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo/Uber, GM/Lyft, and the like, have been granted permission to test drive autonomous vehicles in Silicon Valley, Nevada, and Austin, Honda has private, self-contained access to 20 miles of everyday road types, intersections, and infrastructure that emulate the real world. It also has the ability to change the roads and environments to simulate driving conditions in other countries. The company recently demonstrated its modified Acura RLX “Automated Drive” vehicle in a variety of scenarios including one with pedestrians crossing the street and a mannequin situated in the middle of the road. The target date for Honda’s autonomous vehicle is 2020. 19
  24. 24. In December 2016, Honda announced it is in talks with Alphabet’s Waymo to test self-driving technology, teaming up to supplement its own automation efforts. With Waymo, Honda may provide vehicles modified to accommodate the startup's software (similar to Fiat Chrysler). It also said there was potential for "close" cooperation between Honda and Waymo engineers, reports Reuters.20 20
  25. 25. Hyundai is ramping up autonomous vehicle development on multiple fronts, led by the Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Similar to Fiat Chrysler, the company is partnering with Google as an autonomous platform to develop a self-driving car and accelerate time to market. Additionally, Hyundai is moving into an abandoned bomber factory complex outside Detroit, which is available for use by automakers and suppliers to work on autonomous and connected-car technologies. This complements Hyundai’s course in the California desert that gives it access to high-speed loops and simulated cityscapes. Hyundai is also introducing in its G90 flagship sedan introductory semi-autonomous features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, emergency braking, pedestrian detection, active blind-spot detection, and additional technologies to “reduce driver fatigue.”
  26. 26. Similar to other driving experience-centric automobile manufacturers such as Maserati, Mazda, Nissan, Porsche, and the like, Jaguar Land Rover isn’t the most enthusiastic about self-driving cars taking all the fun away from drivers. Instead, the company is collecting data to understand how to make self-driving cars more human. For starters, it launched a research fleet of 100 cars to test drive a 41-mile route in central England. “Customers are much more likely to accept highly automated and fully autonomous vehicles if the car reacts in the same way as the driver,” said Dr. Wolfgang Epple, director of research and technology at Jaguar Land Rover, in a statement. “By understanding and measuring positive driving behaviors, we can ensure that an autonomous Jaguar or Land Rover of the future will not simply perform a robotic function.” The data is also intended to help inform insurance policies. For example, insurance experts will have the ability to assess liability in particular scenarios based on real-world driving data supplied by the test fleet.21 21
  27. 27. Inside Silicon Valley, many credit Google with pioneering self- driving vehicles. Outside of Silicon Valley, many cite John Deere as helping to accelerate the self-driving vehicle revolution. Technically speaking, John Deere is the largest operator of autonomous vehicles––albeit, farming vehicles and tractors. While not as technically advanced as many of the current self- driving automobiles in development, John Deere has been marketing autonomous tractors and equipment for more than 15 years. Initially, the company used satellite technology to help farmers plot courses for tractors to drive automatically. Because these vehicles operate in fields, the threat to road safety is under the same scrutiny as automakers. As a result, the path of least resistance for self-driving technology was the farm. Currently technologies still require a driver, but fully autonomous farm vehicles are coming. John Deere isn’t alone in this space. Case IH is considered a primary competitor along with lesser known companies. Autonomous Tractor Corporation (ATC) markets eDrive and AutoDrive retrofit kits that offer the ability to safely take over navigation and control. The industry as a whole is prototyping vehicles that will continue to innovate and plow toward thefuture.
  28. 28. Local Motors based in Phoenix, Ariz., combines open-sourced designs from its 60,000-member online community and micro-factories around the world for manufacturing of autonomous vehicles. In June 2016, Local Motors unveiled Olli, a self-driving EV shuttle that integrates the advanced cognitive computing capabilities of IBM Watson. Olli can operate on-demand via mobile app or on a pre-planned route, and its cognitive software allows it to answer riders’ questions about its capabilities, status, and why it made a particular decision.22 In late 2016, global design firm Stantec partnered with Local Motors to provide a full suite of services in the delivery of Olli. It will be targeted for use by transit agencies, cities, states, universities, hospitals and the private sector.23 Deutsche Bahn has been testing Olli at the Euref Campus, an innovation center for developing sustainable urban solutions, and is planning a test run in Germany.24 22 23 Ibid. 24
  29. 29. California-based Lucid Motors, founded in 2007, will finally break ground in 2017 in Arizona, building a $700 million factory to produce a new line of electric vehicles. The company was anearly pioneer in advanced lithium-ion battery technology. Former Tesla executive Peter Rawlinson, now Lucid’s chief technology officer, is moving the company toward a high-performance marketwith a 1,000-horsepower vehicle with an expected range of 400miles per charge. The prototype is said to follow Tesla’s lead in that it will include self-driving capabilities. In a press event in November 2016, Rawlinson revealed that self-driving is in the car’s DNA, “We’re very mindful of this new paradigm of shared mobility and autonomy and we’re designing for that right from the core.” The vehicle is said to feature ultrasonic sensors, longshore range cameras and radar, and a full set of LIDARs. Rawlinson said that in the near-term, there are no plans to remove the steering wheel out of the car. Instead, Lucid seeks to blend autonomy with driver enthusiasm, stating, “We’ll have a clearly autonomous ready system pending legislative freedom and partnership with a software supplier. I can see us becoming ready as soon as it’s possible, but it’s probably not going to happen until 2019, early ’20.”
  30. 30. Like Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda sees a role for the driver in the future of autonomous vehicles. Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai explained in January 2016 why the company is not working onan autonomous program, “It’s not just getting from point A topoint B. Our mission is to provide the essence of drivingpleasure.” But later in 2016, Mazda would change course. In Spring 2016, North American Chief Executive Masahiro Moro explained that Mazda would take a human-centric approach to autonomous driving. In an interview with, he explained, “I think autonomous driving is an important technology, but how we deploy and how we use that technology is different from a leading company… Autonomous driving technology helps if anything happens with the driver, he becomes unconscious or is feeling bad or so on. Then the technology of autonomous driving will override to pull over or go home. So this is the way we will use autonomous driving technology — still a human- centric approach.” Over the coming years, the company plans on releasing semi- autonomous technology features to augment safety and comfort, such as emergency braking, radar-based adaptive cruise control, lane monitoring, etc.
  31. 31. Mercedes-Benz was an early adopter of disruptive technologies, signaled by its opening of an R&D center in Silicon Valley in 1995.25 Officially operating as The Mercedes- Benz Research & Development North America (MBRDNA), the facility employs about 150 full-time digital designers, researchers, and engineers running prototypes. Among many things, the company is working on apps, infotainment, autonomous driving, and battery technology. When it comes to autonomous innovation, the company has actively experimented with its S500 Intelligent Drive program for quite some time. It is a fully autonomous experiment on wheels, legally driving around sanctioned streets in Silicon Valley— with lead and chase vehicles guiding it, of course. However, its long-term investment has it ahead of the pack and arguably made its technology a worthy rival of Tesla’s Autopilot and self- driving innovation. At CES 2016, Mercedes-Benz debuted the Intelligent Drive E-Class. The company demonstrated both fully and semi-autonomous features during a 70-mile stretch in the Nevada desert. 25
  32. 32. Mercedes also launched an autonomous bus in July 2016 with “CityPilot,” which the company claims is, “a milestone on the way to the autonomous city bus, and a revolutionary mobility system for the future.” CityPilot is a software platform for autonomous driving in urban public transport. CityPilot, in tests, already recognizes traffic lights, obstacles (especially pedestrians on the road), and can brake autonomously. It also approaches bus stops automatically and opens and closes its doors for passengers.
  33. 33. Mitsubishi demonstrated a self-driving car concept in October 2015. The video showed a vehicle navigating a test track without a driver, maneuvering through tight turns and obstacles difficult for human drivers. The concept uses satellite data and high definition 3D mapping to navigate roads. The video also highlighted the ability to “remote” park itself with the driver standing outside the car. The company hopes to introduce a self-driving car in 2020. Current reports cite that Mitsubishi is adapting technologies originally developed by Mitsubishi Electric Corp. for military use (e.g. millimeter-wave radars, sonars, sensors, and cameras–– some used to guide missiles) to help self-driving cars detect obstacles and avoid collisions.26 Bloomberg spoke to Katsumi Adachi, Senior Chief Engineer at Mitsubishi’s automotive division. In the interview,Adachi explained the company’s unique approach, “All we have to dois to put together the components that we already have. None of our competitors have such a wide array ofcapabilities.” 26
  34. 34. NextEV is a Chinese EV startup that announced in October 2016 the opening of its Silicon Valley headquarters and intent to enter the electronic vehicle market.27 The company is also involved in the Formula E electric race car platform.28 NextEV is rapidly developing an all-electric $1 million supercar. It is also actively investing in autonomous technology led by Jamie Carlson, a veteran firmware engineer and early member of Tesla’s Autopilot team.29 Carlson initially made headlines when he departed Tesla to join Apple’s Project Titan.30 Carlson joins former Tesla executive Kurt Thywissen, who was the company’s Senior Engineering Manager of UI & Autopilot Software. Thywissen is now Senior Director of Human- Machine Interaction at NextEV. 27 28 29 30
  35. 35. Nissan is rolling out semi-autonomous features in phases, as part of its “Propilot” system, starting this year. The first phase will introduce assisted steering and braking on highways. By 2018, Nissan will introduce a multi-lane navigation function similar to what is available on current Tesla and certain Mercedes-Benz models. In 2020, it plans to add the capability for the vehicle to navigate city driving and intersections without driver intervention. By that time, the Renault-Nissan Alliance plans to launch more than 10 models with advanced autonomous driving functionalities in the United States, Japan, Europe, and China.
  36. 36. Researchers from Nissan and NASA are concurrently working on autonomous driving systems and human- machine interface projects over the next five years. The goal is to develop software that can be used in both cars and planetary rovers. Nissan is also taking a human-centered approach to autonomous driving by hiring Melissa Cefkin, principal scientist and design anthropologist at the Nissan Research Center in Silicon Valley. As a corporate and design anthropologist who specializes in ethnography, she studies people and cultures from the viewpoint of the subject. In the case of autonomous vehicles, Cefkin takes a fresh look at how humans interact with “a deeply and profoundly cultural object,” in this case the car, to gain insights into how new technologies might interpret or act on those behaviors. Additionally, Cefkin’s work in analyzing human driving interactions helps the company ensure that its autonomous fleet is prepared to be a “good citizen” on the road.
  37. 37. Though still in semi-stealth mode,’s plans involve creating a Level Four autonomous vehicle, launched between 2018-2020, as well as other transportation-related products. The company was co- founded by two former top executives of Google’s self-driving car project: Jiajun Zhu and Dave Ferguson. According to Recode,’s team also includes engineers with robotics, AI, and self-driving experience who had a hand in an unusually wide range of products including Nexus cameras, Google Image search, the Mars Exploration and Curiosity Rovers, Google street view, Google’s self-driving cars, and a number of surgical tools.31 31
  38. 38. Porsche’s CEO Oliver Blume famously told a German newspaper that Porsche had no plans to build a self-driving car. “One wants to drive a Porsche by oneself,”said Blume to Westfalen-Blatt. “An iPhone belongs in your pocket, not on theroad.” At the Paris Motor Show in September 2016, Porsche unveiled its Tesla-rivalling Mission E, with plans to hit the marketin 2020. Speaking to AutoExpress, Blume confirmed that future Porsche models will indeed offer autonomous features. However, a fully autonomous vehicle is not planned. In the interview, he maintained that the ability for owners to enjoy driving their car is essential. He also provided examples where a driver may choose to read a newspaper while stuck in a trafficjam or prefer to have the vehicle be able topark itself remotely.
  39. 39. The Frenchmultinationalmanufacturerof Peugeot,Citroen,and DS announcedthat Level2 driverassistance systems would be available by 2018 and fully autonomous vehicles by 2021. In the short-term, vehicles will featurean intelligentsystemthat can assumecontrolfromthe driverif it detectsany lapsein attentiondue to fatigueor inattentionto reducethe riskof an accident.PSAGroupCEO CarlosTavareswarnedin 2016 that he was unsure that automobile manufacturers could profit from autonomous cars by the early 2020s “becauseof the hugeamountof technologyyou needto maketheseproductsdrivesafely,”he explained. In April 2016, PSA Group successfully road-tested two Citroën C4 Picasso autonomous vehicles in level 3 “eyes off” mode for more than 300 kilometers between Paris andAmsterdam. This was done without driver interaction but instead supervision, requiring the driver to solely verify that the systems are functioning properly. Since then, the company has grown to four Citroën C4 Picasso demonstrators on the road, traveling more than 60km autonomously, and 10 autonomous test vehicles in total.32 PSAGroup is also working with the System-X and Vedecom research institutes, and the CTAG automotive centre of Galicia in Spain to ensure safe operations between drivers and self-driving cars. The PSA Group became the first carmaker in July 2015 to obtain the necessary approvals to test its self- driving cars on the open road in France. 32
  40. 40. Subaru is working toward fully autonomous vehicles by introducing significant driver- assist features along the way. One of the company’s most advanced features currently available is its EyeSight system. EyeSight monitors traffic and driving activity to assist with a variety of safety and comfort features, ranging from cruise control to active braking, to lane monitoring. EyeSight will act as the core of the company’s semi- autonomous efforts with its next driver aid feature focusing on traffic jam assist. The car will drive itself in start/stop situations up to 40mph initially with the ability to also follow curves. By 2020, Subaru said it will introduce a semi-autonomous driving function for highway driving. That system will allow automated lane changing and automated steering around curves.
  41. 41. Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes that any car that’s not autonomous in the near future is obsolete. In a call with Wall Street analysts in 2015, he famously asserted, “Any cars that are being made that don’t have full autonomy will have negative value. It will be like owning a horse. You’re really owning it for sentimental reasons.” Tesla has been among the more aggressive of the bunch, and is one of the primary reasons we are seeing so many announcements in 2016. Tesla was the first to unlock its hidden, innovative, and also controversial Autopilot feature that set the worldabuzz.
  42. 42. In Autopilot’s current adaptation, the car can assume control of steering, braking and switching lanes, but it does so with the full expectation that the driver will be at the ready to take over if necessary. This doesn’t stop people from pushing the boundaries of what’s responsible though, with some drivers napping or moving to the back seat to test or show-off the feature. Unfortunately, in July 2016, the first fatality occurred in a self-driving car, when a Tesla Model S plowed into a semi- truck that made a turn in front of the vehicle. Autopilot was engaged at the time of impact, and the vehicle did not “see” the white truck against a bright, white sky in time to stop. Since the accident, Tesla and Mobileye have severed ties. On Sept. 11, Tesla unveiled a planned upgrade to Autopilot with enhanced software to utilize the radar system on its vehicles to better see surroundings and road conditions. While the vehicle isn’t fully autonomous yet, Tesla has done the most work introducing the world of self-driving features⎯and, it’s helping drive Tesla demand in the process. Currently considered “Level 2” autonomous technology, Tesla Autopilot requires drivers to be engaged. The company stunned the automotive industry yet again on October 19 when it announced that all Model S, X, and 3 vehicles will ship standard with all necessary hardware and software for an eventually fully autonomous mode. While the capability will be turned off for now, Tesla will introduce features over time as it, and government regulations, deem them safe. In July 2016, Elon Musk also revealed plans to explore Tesla Semi development to bring electric trucks to market. In his “Master Plan, Part Deux,” Musk wrote, “We believe the Tesla Semi will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety, and making it really fun to operate.” It’s widely speculated that its heavy-duty trucks will feature specialized versions of its Autopilot technology used in its current line-up of vehicles.
  43. 43. Toyota announced the creation of the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) in January 2016, a $1 billion investment in AI to develop autonomous driving capabilities. The company is taking a human approach, literally, to machine development. Toyota is studying human drivers to teach cars how to drive themselves. In an interview with BusinessInsider, head of data at TRI Jim Adler shared his perspective on a human approach to self-driving: “Humans are very good drivers. If you look at the fatality rate, it’s like one death in 100 million miles driven. That’s humbling. We need to learn from drivers. If you look at how machines are trained, they’re not trained by rules. They’re trained by example.”33 At CES 2017, Toyota unveiled its “Concept-i,” a futuristic vehicle with its main feature a built-in AI assistant called Yui. While the car offers some early autonomous features, its AI focus aims to assist the driver instead of taking over completely, reports AutoEvolution.34 Additionally, Toyota has pledged $1 billion to a university-led program dedicated to studying artificial intelligence, robotics, and reducing driver fatalities. The company has invested in three research partnerships to date, including the University of Michigan,35 Stanford in Palo Alto,36 and MIT in Cambridge.37 Toyota, like other manufacturers, is diversifying its investments. The company, which has also invested in Uber, along with the Japan Federation of Hire-Taxi Associations, announced a group to collaborate on the development of future taxicab technologies. 33 34 35 36 37
  44. 44. Volvo announced in 2016 that it joined forces with Autoliv Inc., a supplier of vehicle safety systems. The joint venture, which was finalized in January 2017, is dubbed Zenuity and will build new software for autonomous drive systems and ADAS.38 Volvo plans to sell a self-driving vehicle to consumers in five years. The company will sell autonomous vehicles with a steering wheel, but consumers can pay upward of $10,000 extra for a full autopilot system where the car will be able to drive itself. Volvo is testing cars on public roads in Sweden and plans to expand public tests in London and China in 2018. Concurrently, Volvo is working with Uber, who together are contributing a combined $300 million to the project. As part of the agreement, the companies will co-developautonomous technology with vehicles going into Uber’s self-driving service and also becoming part of Volvo’s fleet for consumer ownership. The duo began piloting self-driving Volvo SUVs for Uber pickups in Pittsburgh earlier this year.39 38 300384515.html 39 is06r7on
  45. 45. Volkswagen is admittedly a late-comer to the autonomous party. In an interview with the Economic Times, Digital Chief Johann Jungwirth voiced the company’s commitment to innovation, “We have a massive need to now work with thesame passion for detail and the same focus on software and services as on hardware (cars).” Through its Audi brand, the company is developing a fully self-driving car rather than introducing incremental semi-autonomous features (see Audi profile, earlier in this report). As a result, VW will “massively expand” its presence in Silicon Valley according to Jungwirth. Furthermore, VW is planning acquisitions in the market for new transportation technologies and services. Recently, VW invested $300 million in ride-hailing company Gett, which competes with Uber and Lyft.
  47. 47. Auro offers an autonomous shuttle marketed to college campuses (currently only in Santa Clara, with plans to expand in 2017). As of November 2016, the shuttle runs 100% autonomously. For the time being, an Auro field engineer rides along, ready to take control of the slow-moving (7mph) campus vehicle if necessary. Eventually Auro will be gradually transition to remote supervision. The bus offers a large emergency stop button for passengers to hit in case of need, according to IEEE Spectrum.40 Auro shuttle software gathers information from onboard LIDARs, as well as cameras for use in its deep-learning project aimed at interpreting pedestrian intent. Similar to the Olli bus, Auro will eventually offer an app for calling the shuttle on- demand, as well as expanded routes with stops closer to student housing. Auro will be operated as a subscription service sold to college campuses for a flat rate.41 40 brakes-for-squirrels-skateboarders-and-texting-students 41 Ibid.
  48. 48. Apple invested $1 billion in Didi in May 2016. In July, Uber China merged with Didi Chuxing. Currently, there is no formal self- driving initiative that’s been announced. Though, there is speculation around recent partnerships and investments, as well as the company’s stated emphasis on artificial intelligence that indicates otherwise. In an interview with Bloomberg, Didi Chuxing President Jean Liu shared, “The next phase for us isreally to invest more in artificial intelligence and machine learning.”
  49. 49. Cambridge-based NuTonomy is aiming to be the first company in the world to design and launch an autonomous taxi service. NuTonomy launched its initial trials in Singapore in August 2016. Much like Uber’s public Pittsburgh trials, the company seeks to get feedback from the cars and passengers to inform and expedite a launch as soon as 2018. This plan was fortified through a strategic partnership with Grab, an Uber rival. This approach is similar to what Uber and Volvo are testing in Pittsburgh and GM and Lyft in Phoenix.
  50. 50. MIT spinoff startup Optimus Ride is focused on the on-demand transportation system and EV side of autonomous technologies. The startup has plans to leverage the latest advances in complex sensor fusion, mapping, computer vision, and machine learning to develop its systems. It raised $5.25M in seed funding in October 2016, and has already begun testing early versions of its platform at Perkins School for the Blind and, as of December 2016,42 on the streets of Boston. The Optimus Ride team collectively shares experience in self-driving technologies, electric vehicles, mobility-on-demand, and other transportation systems. The team also includes industrial and entrepreneurial experience spanning manufacturing robots, medical robots, shared vehicle fleet management, and urban design. 42
  51. 51. Alongside Google, Uber is among the more aggressive of the bunch accelerating the arrival and implementation of autonomous vehicles in commercial applications. In 2015 and 2016, Uber courted many carmakers to accelerate its autonomous efforts including Ford, GM, Toyota, and Volvo.43 In early 2016, Uber announced a $300 million partnership with Volvo to develop fully autonomous vehicles by 2021.44 Uber’s partnership with Volvo aimed to co-develop an autonomous vehicle based on the Volvo XC90 sport-utility vehicle. In May 2016, Toyota also announced a strategic investment in Uber to collaborate on the company’s research efforts.45 Among its many simultaneous efforts, Uber also opened an Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in Pittsburgh to advance self-driving Uber cars. Last year, the company hired 40 scientists, experts, and engineers from Carnegie Mellon University to staff ATC.46 43 44 45 46
  52. 52. Autonomous Ride/Hail: Uber announced in May 2016 that it would launch an effort to collect mapping data and also test its self-driving capabilities in Pittsburgh, Penn.47 The program was an extension of ATC investment and was driven by Uber-modified Ford Fusions outfitted with 20 cameras, seven lasers, and a GPS-radar combo. Shortly thereafter, Uber announced that it would would put a fleet of 100 self-driving Volvo XC90s, based on its earlier investments, on the road by the end of the 2016.48 Part of a city-sanctioned pilot program, Ubers autonomously shuttle passengers (with human supervision) around town and gather mapping and environment data in the process. To public surprise in December 2016, Uber also took to the streets of San Francisco with a small self-driving fleet of Volvo XC90s.49 Similar to the pilot in Pittsburgh, autonomous Ubers in San Francisco operated with a full-time driver and an engineer in the passenger seat to monitor and optimize performance. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) quickly threatened to shutter the operation however, claiming that Uber was operating without a proper permit. Uber argued that, because it employed a full-time driver, it was not held to the same rules.50 47 48 49 50 definition/
  53. 53. These tests are just that––tests. Uber plans to scale these deployments to prove its technology and stave off competition from GM/Lyft, Ford, VW, among many others. In preparation for mass rollout, Uber reportedly placed an order for 100,000 self-driving Mercedes-Benz to reveal over time as part of its on-demand fleet.51 According to Silicon Valley legend, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick attempted to order the entire production of 2020 autonomous Teslas too, but did not do so because Elon Musk did not return his call. Maps: After losing a $3 billion bid for Nokia’s maps, Uber announced that it had already invested $500 million in its own global mapping project. The goal is to reduce reliance on Google Maps and set the stage for a precise self-driving vehicle network. Trucking: Uber also purchased autonomous trucking San Francisco- based startup Otto for an estimated $680 million. The startup, like GM’s Cruise or Tesla’s Autopilot, offers a kit to help semi-trucks navigate highways. As well as expediting the rollout of self-driving intra-city services, the acquisition will help expand Uber’s reach into new delivery markets. It’s also a tremendous coup by the company in its race against Google and Apple to become the leading autonomous software platform. Otto made headlines in October 2016 when it partnered with Anheuser-Busch and the state of Colorado to outfit a Budweiser delivery truck to make a “Level 4” self-driving delivery test-run. According to a press release issued by Otto, the professional driver was in the sleeper berth monitoring the system for the entire 120-mile journey down I-25. At the time of publishing, Otto is seeking further test partners in addition to Anheuser-Busch to accelerate commercial autonomous transportation. 51 mercedes-100000-autonomous-cars/
  54. 54. Similar to Auro and Olli, Varden offers autonomous EV campus shuttles, driven at 5mph, to students of Sacramento State University. The Mountain View-based company is made up of former University of Waterloo engineering students who hope to lease driverless shuttle vehicles to colleges. It is programmed to follow a given route and it cannot deviate, even a few feet, and leases at $50,000.
  56. 56. Bosch is one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers and currently has more than 2,000 engineers dedicated to driver-assistance systems. Bosch currently works with Google, Porsche, and Tesla. It was recently revealed that Bosch and Tesla have two fully autonomous Model S’s in testing. Additionally, Bosch partnered with TomTom to implement accurate GPS mapping data into its platform.
  57. 57. ContinentalAG is a German auto parts supplier. The company began working on autonomous driving projects in 2006. In 2012, Continental was the first automotive supplier licensed to test these vehicles in Nevada. In March 2016, the company acquired a division of Advanced Scientific Concepts Inc. that makes an imaging sensor used in autonomous vehicles.52 Continental’s early-stage projects explored systems to collect, analyze and feed data back to self-driving cars to improve the recognition of their environment and assist them in reacting correctly.53 The company debuted “Cruising Chauffer,” a self-driving test vehicle in Brimley, Mich.54 The Cruising Chauffeur is based on a Chrysler 300 and outfitted with Continental autonomous systems, which control all driving-related tasks. The vehicle is driven by a 360-degree long- and short-range radar, cameras, integrated active-safety technology and a redundant architecture system. In January 2017, Continental partnered with Nexteer, which supplies steering components to car manufacturers and is majority owned by China's AVIC Automotive, to advance motion control systems for automated driving.55 The joint venture will be based in Michigan and will combine Nexteer's advanced steering and driver assistance technologies with Continental's automated driving and advanced braking technologies. 52 53 54 55
  58. 58. One of the most expensive parts of an autonomous vehicle is its LIDAR sensor, which can cost upwards of $75,000 today.56 That’s the price tag reported for the Velodyne HDL-64E LIDAR sensor. Velodyne has been developing solid-state LIDAR technology that can perform at scale. Its latest product, the Velodyne LIDAR Puck, has brought LIDAR costs down to $8,000 and is estimated to carry a mass-production price tag of $50.57 This new technology aims to move LIDAR away from the spinning domes on top of autonomous test cars today to the exterior of vehicles for retail car buyers using small, out- of-sight chips. Currently, Velodyne is working on 19 autonomous vehicle projects with 10 high- tech companies and nine automakers. In August 2016, the company received $150 million from Baidu and Ford. 56 57
  59. 59. German automotive supplier ZF acquired electronics and safety specialist TRW. The company develops autonomous safety and technology systems––including cameras, sensors, radar, and software to deliver adaptive cruise control, emergency braking systems, and more. At CES 2017, ZF announced a partnership with with Nvidia to develop what they call the world’s first “artificial-intelligence self-driving car computer.”58 The ZF ProAI technology system powered by Nvidia is aimed at several industries ranging from mining, farming and logistics to shipping, rail, and more. According to executives for both companies, ZR ProAI enables vehicles to “see, think, and act” to better understand their environment through the use of real-time deep learning that processes sensor and camera data. The company aims to have their autonomous highway systems available in vehicles by 2018.59 58 59
  61. 61. Chinese search giant Baidu has been working on autonomous vehicles since 2013. One of the company’s key partners is BMW, as noted earlier in our report. In December 2015, a modified 3-Series BMW autonomously drove an 18.6-mile route around Beijing. Powered by the “Baidu Brain,” a system that brings together high-precision mapping, positioning, sensing, and big data processing. In June, Baidu introduced its official plans for the mass production of driverless vehicles by 2021. Similar to Mercedes, the company also announced that it will develop autonomous bus and tourist shuttle services with set routes with the full support of the Chinese government. Baidu and vehicle manufacturer BAIC Motor Corp announced the formation of a strategic partnership at CES 2017 to produce and promote autonomous vehicle technology in China. Baidu's autonomous driving research and development arm, Baidu Intelligent Vehicle, will work with BAIC on two key projects: the launch of a BAIC-built vehicle equipped with Baidu's telematics solutions, and trialing a Level 3 autonomous vehicle on limited roads by the end of 2017.60 60
  62. 62. United Kingdom-based automotive parts supplier Delphi built aplatform of software and sensors to convert any vehicle into one that’s autonomous. In April 2016, the company outfitted an Audi SQ5 with its technology and test drove it 3,000 miles across the United States, where it reportedly operated autonomously for 99% of the drive. At CES 2016, Delphi displayed a new autonomous human-machine interface that focuses on providing comfort and control to drivers in the stepping-stone stage before automation isready. Delphi has also partnered with Quanergy, a startup that’s developing solid-state LiDARat a cost of only $1,000 per car.
  63. 63. Microsoft is a relative newcomer to the autonomous caravan, which, to be fair, is not unlikemany automobilemanufacturers. However, Microsoft is beginningto explore the roads less driven. For example, in a partnership with Volvo, Microsoft is contributing to autonomous R&D and also hoping to implement its augmented reality HoloLens technologyinto the automobile experience. More specifically, the companies intend to, “develop autonomous cars, the use of data to create ‘meaningful services,’ machine learning, and how to modernize the car buying process.” Microsoft is also reportedly contributingcloud computing capabilities to Here, the mapping business formerly owned by Nokia and recently acquiredby a consortiumof German automakers. It also has partnered with the IAV, an engineering services firm and pioneer of highly automated driving, with intentions to use Windows 10 Continuum to stream Windows 10 directly to the car’s dashboard.61 In September2016, Microsoftannouncedthat it will help the Renault-Nissan alliance develop next-generation connected services for its self- drivingprogramthroughAzure cloud services. In January 2017, it was announced that Renault-Nissan will be the first customer for Microsoft's Connected Vehicle Platform.62 61 62 cost-and-let
  64. 64. Portland, Ore.-based Polysync offers an operating system platform that helps simplify and accelerate the development, testing, and implementation of autonomous driving technologies. The software platform provides the “back end” of self-driving systems that automakers and suppliers can build upon, customizing for their own needs, conditions, and specific threats or consumer demands. Polysync’s value proposition is to save companies significant resources and time from building the code from scratch.63 Polysync’s founder Josh Hartung previously was the CTO at radar and LIDAR sensor distributor AutonomousStuff. Polysync was previously known as Harbrick Technologies. According to Hartung in Automotive News, “We want to be the iOS or Android of automotive. We’re giving companies a base layer of autonomous driving software.” 63
  65. 65. Qualcomm is a global semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company that designs and markets chip-based solutions for wireless telecommunications products and services. In June 2016, Qualcomm debuted its Connected Car Reference Platform intended for automakers and technology partners to develop next-generation connected cars.64 Qualcomm, similar to that of Intel, is also developing semiconductors that help vehicles communicate in everyday driving scenarios via V2X (vehicle to everything).65 The company sees the path to enabling real-time V2X at scale is via 5G cellular networks.66 Until 5G becomes pervasive, the company is investing in LTE Direct device-to-device communications to enable direct communication between vehicles and each other, pedestrians, and road infrastructure. Additionally, Qualcomm is investing in LET Broadcast technology for vehicular communications to alert drivers to an upcoming accident, guide them to an open parking space, offer alternative routes, and more. 64 65 vehicles 66
  66. 66. Qualcomm’s investment in 5G technology will further scale autonomous capabilities. The company detailed three such scenarios in a blog post published in July 2016: • Cooperative-collision avoidance: Actions by a self-driving vehicle to avoid collisions may create hazardous driving conditions for other vehicles. Cooperative-collision avoidance allows all involved vehicles to coordinate their actions to avoid collisions in a cooperative manner. • High-density platooning: Self-driving vehicles will communicate with each other to create a closely spaced multiple vehicle chain on a highway. High-density platooning will further reduce the current distance between vehicles down to one meter, resulting in better traffic efficiency, fuel savings, and safer roads. • See through: When small vehicles are behind larger vehicles (e.g., trucks), the smaller vehicles cannot "see" an obstacle such as a pedestrian crossing the road ahead. In such scenarios, a truck’s camera can detect the situation and share the image of the pedestrian with the vehicle behind it. This would then trigger a real-time alert to the vehicle or driver.
  68. 68. Audi, BMW and Daimler banded together with Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia and Qualcomm in September 2016 to form the 5G Automotive Association. The group will “develop, testand promote communications solutions, support standardization and accelerate commercial availability and global market penetration,” the founders said in astatement. One of the primary goals for the group is to accelerate the deployment of 5G technology and infrastructure to support a more capable wireless network to support autonomousdriving.
  69. 69. Apple is currently working on Project Titan, which speculation and topline research indicates may be an operating system for autonomous vehicles. The Wall Street Journal stated that there were at least “several hundred” Apple employees working on the project. Apple recently hired Dan Dodge,who previously founded QNX, anoperating system company BlackBerry acquired in2010. In early 2016, Apple also opened a research and development center in the Ottawa suburb Kanata, across the street from the QNX headquarters. There have significant rumors thatApple has previously worked on, or still is, an electric and/or autonomousvehicle. Apple offered a clue into its autonomous plans inNovember 2016 when the company submitted a letter to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The company’s Director ofProduct Integrity Steve Kenner wrote in the letter:
  70. 70. “Apple uses machine learning to make its products and services smarter, more intuitive, and more personal. The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.” The letter appears to focus on allowing “new entrants” to have the “same opportunity” to data sharing and public road testing as “established manufacturers,” “without pursuing exemptions.” Doing so would give Apple, as well as startups, an accelerated path to market that promotes fairness among newcomers and incumbents.As Kenner describes in the letter: “Apple agrees that companies should share de-identified scenario and dynamics data from crashes and near-misses. Data should be sufficient to reconstruct the event, including time-series of vehicle kinematics and characteristics of the roadway and objects. By sharing data, the industry will build a more comprehensive dataset than any one company could create alone. This will allow everyone in the industry to design systems to better detect and respond to the broadest set of nominal and edge-case scenarios.” Whatever it is, the project isn’t expected to hit the market until at least 2021.
  71. 71. George Hotz is the founder of and is well known for being the first hacker to unlock the original Apple iPhone. The startup developed an autonomous software-based driving kit marketed as the Comma One Open Pilot. Originally intended to be sold as an aftermarket add-on for certain Honda and Acura models, it was subsequently blocked by U.S. authorities for not submitting the technology to official review. The software is powered by “Neo,” a custom-made box of electronics mounted in pace of the rear view mirror. A OnePlus 3 Android smartphone mounted inside provides camera inputs and processing power. The system connects to existing camera and radar-based driver assist Lane Keeping and Adaptive Cruise Control systems in the Honda Civic Touring and Acura ILX models. is offering the kit to the public with code and hardware plans for developers to build upon.
  72. 72. Google's autonomous vehicle program has been one of the most ambitious and public to date. Operating as Google X, this advanced fleet has been driving around Silicon Valley for several years. Google's work on this front is unrivaled, as it boasts 21 modified Lexus SUVs and 33 unorthodox pod-like small cars that can fully drive themselves. X vehicles have self- driven more than 3 million miles on the streets of Mountain View, Calif., Austin, Texas, Kirkland, Wash., and Metro Phoenix. Of those miles, 10,000 rides have safely carried Googlers and guests without the capacity for a human being to take the wheel. In September 2016, Google hired ex-Hyundai and TrueCar exec John Krafcik to lead the program. It also hired Kevin Vosen as its first general attorney and Tim Papandreou, former head of San Francisco’s Office of Innovation at the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency. These hires signaled the development of a formalized infrastructure that seemed to prepare it for commercialization under the new Alphabet structure.
  73. 73. Just three months later in December, Google surprised the industry by spinning out its self-driving car unit as a separate company called Waymo, which stands for “Way forward in Mobility.” John Krafcik serves as the company’s CEO and Dmitri Dolgov is head of self- driving tech.67 At a press conference in Silicon Valley, Krafcik announced that, according to Google, the company noted that it had already completed the first fully driverless ride on public roads in Austin in 2015 with a car that had no steering wheel or pedals in everyday traffic.68 Krafcik said at the press event that he could see Google using its self-driving tech for "the ride-sharing business, trucking, logistics, even personally used vehicles and licensing with automakers." Additionally, Krafcik clarified that the company is focused on technology and not automobiles, “We are a self-driving technology company. We’ve been really clear that we’re not a car company … we’re not in the business of making better cars. We’re in the business of making better drivers.” The Information reported in December 2016 that the partnership between Waymo and Fiat Chrysler would introduce a ridesharing service based on a collaboratively developed autonomous version of the Chrysler Pacific minivan by the end of 2017.69 For Waymo, this partnership presents the opportunity to scale its technology with the help of automotive expertise to help it meet federal regulations and mass produce in market-ready, consumer-oriented vehicles. Waymo is also in talks with Honda to explore similar partnership opportunities among technologies, resources, and engineers. 67 car-unit-spins-out-as-waymo/ 68 driving-car-ambitions 69 million-at-1-billion-valuation-for-its-self-driving-cars/
  74. 74. Hitachi launched a new division to develop autonomous driving systems. The work brings together efforts led by other Hitachi business units. To date, it has developedAI and obstacle-detection cameras, radars, sensors and actuators, a human machine interface, electronic control unit, a high-precision mapping system, and other infrastructure devices. These components help autonomous vehicles to safely navigate roads, predict pedestrian movements, avoid objects stationary and in motion, and optimize speed and slowing maneuvers. The company is seeking to provide technology solutions to automakers that are not designing autonomous solutions inhouse. In an interview with Nikkei, Atsushi Kawabata, chief technology officer of Hitachi Automotive Systems, he detailed the advantages of an integrated systems approach, “We are the only company in the world that brings together all the technologies necessary for automated driving.” In December 2016, Hitachi Automotive announced that its ADAS Electronic Control Unit is being used on the new Serena that Nissan launched in August2016.
  75. 75. Zoox is a secretive Menlo Park, Calif.-based startup that is building autonomous technology to compete against Google, GM’s Cruise Automation, and Tesla.70 The company is reportedly re-imagining the car from the ground up to offer passengers a dedicated mobile experience without the design constraints of traditional driver-centered cockpits.71 In October 2016, at the White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburg, co-founder Tim Kentley-Klay described Zoox’s effots this way, “At Zoox what we’re not a self-driving car any more than the automobile is a horseless carriage. We’re not building a robo-taxi service, we’re actually creating an advanced mobility service.” He went on, “… you can really think of it as Disneyland on the streets of perhaps San Francisco and that means a vehicle which is smart enough to understand its environment but it’s also importantly smart enough to understand you, where you need to be, what you want to do in the vehicle, and how you want to move around the city.”72 70 71 72
  77. 77. Argo AI is a Pittsburgh-based startup tackling artificial intelligence technologies for self-driving cars. It was founded by Uber and Google veteran engineers. In Feb. 2017, Ford announced a $1B investment in the relatively unknown startup, marking the largest investment in self-driving technology by a vehicle manufacturer to date. According to Engadget, Argo AI will operate as an independent subsidiary and will focus on developing a software platform for Ford's self-driving car. Peter Rander, Argo AI COO; Ken Washington, Ford vice president of Research and Advanced Engineering; Mark Fields, Ford president and CEO; Bryan Salesky, Argo AI CEO; Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president, Product Development, and chief technical officer; and Laura Merling, Ford Smart Mobility LLC vice president of autonomous vehicle solutions.
  78. 78. Based in Stockholm, Sweden Autoliv, Inc., is an automotive machine vision supplier that provides monocular, stereo and night vision systems for automated driving capability.73 At CES 2017, the company previewed LIV, a Learning Intelligent Vehicle that connects all the different technologies via an AI-based ECU (engine control unit) that communicates and acts on all available data. The system facilitates collaboration and shared control between driver and vehicle to attain trust and facilitate required safety in autonomous driving. 73
  79. 79. DeepScale is a San Francisco-based startup that has core technology in training data for machine learning algorithms, rapid deep neural network (DNN) training, and efficient DNN deployment in embedded/IoT (Internet of Things) applications. The company is applying this expertise todevelop perception and learning systems for autonomousvehicles.
  80. 80. was founded in April 2015 by former graduatestudents working in Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab.74 The Mountain View, Calif.-based startup is focused on developing deep learning AI software and using it as the brainsdriving real-time actions of autonomous vehicles. More so, is designing its software to have a personality that cancommunicate with people in a human-likeway. Company president and co-founder Carol Reiley explained their approach to Fortune, “People’s first interaction with a self-driving car will not be in the car, but as bystander either as a pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist, or another driver. To gain trust of the public, these cars have to communicate with the outside world, and be able to emote what its intentionsare.” Some of the ways the company is experimenting with communication protocol include sensors, software, audio equipment, and a roof-mounted LED sign to send messages, emojis, and, emit varying sounds to communicate intent. The company is also pairing its intelligent software with hardwarekits to retrofit business vehicle fleets. 74
  81. 81. Something needs to power all this incredible, processing-intensive autonomous information. At CES 2016, Nvidia introduced the Nvidia Drive PX2, a computer vision system, which has been dubbed a, “super computer for autonomous cars.” The hardware is part of a bigger initiative that Nvidia calls DriveNet. The entire system is not only a processing plant, but also a deep learning AI network, which helps cars learn how to identify objects better and faster. In 2016, Nvidia partnered with Baidu to build a platform for semi- and fully autonomous cars.75 Currently Nvidia can be seen openly testing its vehicles around the Bay Area in California. 75 supplier
  82. 82. Atlanta-based Wheego Technologies, originally Wheego Electric Cars, started out as a developer of small electric vehicles (EV) designed for consumer use. Now the company has pivoted to become an R&D company focused on machine learning and artificial intelligence for electric, autonomous vehicles. As of 2016, Wheego aims to fill a void in Asia by supplying Chinese automakers with EV and autonomous driving technology.76 Foxconn Technology Group, an early investor that has since divested its interest in the company, initially partnered with Wheego to develop an electric delivery van for the Chinese market as a means to collect big data. That project was never completed, but the investment in machine- learning, autonomous driving and data collection serve as the foundation for its new offering. 76 supplier
  83. 83. V2V/V2I/V2X
  84. 84. Intel is one of the early founders of Silicon Valley and has, over the years, effectively expanded its innovative chipsets beyond traditional PC and enterprise platforms to mobile to post- PC devices and the Internet of Things (IoT). To date, Intel has partnered with Mobileye and Delphi to enable autonomous technology solutions with its Core i7processors,77 as well as acquired Movidius and its “vision processing unit” platform to help self-driving cars “see.”78 In November 2016, as part of its IoT organization, Intel introduced the Automated Driving Group (ADG), a new business unit dedicated to working with technology partners and carmakers to power autonomous technology. 79 The new group is will be led by Doug Davis, Intel’s current head of the IoT division. He postponed his announcement to do so. 77 78 into-a-new-business-unit/#5dd5d7cf1ed4 79
  85. 85. In an official company statement, Intel positioned ADG as a long-term vertical growth investment in driving an automobile’s ability to communicate with everything in day-to-day driving environments (V2X), “Automated driving is long term growth opportunity for Intel. We believe there is an incredible opportunity to reinvent the driving experience and it will take a global ecosystem for this vision to come to fruition. The new ADG organization will provide the necessary focus and support for our long-term investments needed for our strategic automated driving endeavors.” At the Los Angeles Auto show in November 2016, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced that Intel Capital, an Intel subsidiary focused on early round investments in strategic startups and relevant technologies, would be investing $250 million in autonomous driving over the next two years.80 Investments will focus on connectivity, context awareness, deep learning and security. 80
  86. 86. Acquired by BlackBerry in 2010, QNX develops navigation and connected device systems and middleware for self-driving cars. The intelligent operating system is currently used by Volkswagen and Ford, among others. The company derives its revenue by licensing its software to automakers and infrastructure and platform partners. Thomas Bloor, business development manager for BlackBerry QNX software systems, explains QNX this way, “Today, a lot of the systems put into the car are built and sourced in isolation from each other. So, a lot of systems end up fighting each other in the car.” Bloor also explained that security is critical to develop hack-resistant autonomous vehicles. In a November edition of Canada’s Globe and Mail, Bloor shared the importance of securing the connectivity between self-driving cars, their occupants, and networks, “We are bringing a lot of the security assets that secure the BlackBerry phones into the automotive space. Moving forward towards this vision of the autonomous connected vehicle, you can’t really build a safe system if you can’t make it secure. Obviously, safety and security are very strongly intertwined.”
  87. 87. UX/DESIGN
  88. 88. ANSYS Inc. specializes in engineering simulation used in the automotive industry. With engineering simulation, thousands of design scenarios can be virtually tested on computers in the same time, effort, and expense needed for conducting a single road test. ADAS involves a complicated control- loop that must function flawlessly over the millions of scenarios that autonomous vehicles encounter and that human drivers take for granted. Simulating ADAS involves drive-scenario modeling, sensor physics modeling, sensor data fusion, human–machine interfaces and more.
  89. 89. Online education startup Udacity introduced a self-driving car engineering nanodegree. This makes the list because, as part of the program, the education company will build its own self-driving car. Rather than bringing it to market, Udacity will open-source the technology to help other companies advance self- driving capabilities.
  91. 91. Chronocam specializes in computer technology “vision” optimized for autonomous vehicles. Its systems store nearly 20 times less data than a standard camera system, working by analyzing captured images on a pixel-by-pixel basis and taking note of changes in static data. The Paris-based company recently received $15M in Series B funding, following a previously raised $850,000 seed round. Chronocam plans to package its computer vision technology into a full end-to-end system, which it hopes to ship in 2017.81 81
  92. 92. Japanese supplier of mostly powertrain parts and air conditioning to companies like Toyota, Denso Corp. has recently partnered with NEC Corp. to develop self-driving auto technology that uses artificial intelligence married with Denso’s camera and sensor technologies.82 In January 2016, Denso introduced a dedicated ADAS unit.83 Denso partnered with Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corp. on a new vision sensor that can better detect pedestrians at night. It also formed a strategic partnership with Toshiba Corp to develop deep neural network-intellectual property that uses algorithms modeled after human brainwaves to recognize the driving environment around the vehicle.84 82 83 Ibid. 84
  93. 93. Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (North America) is focused on driverless car technologies, with a group of 63 researchers in Cambridge, Mass., near MIT. The company’s president and CEO Richard Waters revealed that, among its autonomous efforts, computer vision is a priority. In an interview with Xconomy in June 2016, Waters shared, “We’re working on [getting to] where a car can actually see well enough to drive without a map.” Michael Jones, a computer-vision research scientist at MERL, expressed a more humble prediction about when autonomous vehicles will actually drive themselves. He believes that we are a decade away. “I think we can get 95 percent of the way there, but the last 5 percent is really difficult,” Jones told Xconomy. “You almost have to solve all of A.I. to have a car that drives with no driver.” These efforts are in addition to Mitsubishi Electric Corp. sharing its missile guidance technology components with Mitsubishi’s automotive group, as detailed earlier in our report.
  94. 94. Israel-based Mobileye is a leading supplier of collision avoidance car sensor systems, supplying many of the ADAS systems offered by major automakers today. Among its many partnerships, the company teamed-up with Delphi to develop a Central Sensing Localization and Planning (CSLP) self-driving system to offer near-complete autonomous driving by 2019. The companies plan to offer an off-the-shelf CSLP system that can plug-and-play into a variety of vehicle types. Shortly after the very public “he said, she said” breakup with Tesla as a result of the fatal semi-truck and Tesla crash driving in auto-pilot mode, the company has already solidified partnerships with BMW and is close to finalizing an agreement with VW. Furthermore, the company is negotiating with roughly 10 carmakers to join its Road Experience Management (REM) mapping product (see mapping section).
  95. 95. Nauto is a hardware company and platform that collects real-world driving and accident data from manually driven cars. The goal is to partner with automakers to provide safety data to assist in the co- development of self-driving cars. Currently, the company partners with commercial fleets and now automakers to install its devices to rearview mirrors. The hardware features cameras that focus on the driver and also the road ahead, combined with other sensors such as accelerometers, to capture information about driver behavior and potential accidents. The goal is for Nauto software to be built into cars at the point of manufacturing. As a shared platform, automakers can share data that would take years to gather independently to guide autonomous cars (and their passengers) much more safely. In October 2016, automakers BMW and Toyota, along with insurance provider Allianz Ventures, announced that they were investing in and partnering with the company. Nauto co-founder Stefan Heck told Recode in an interview about the investment, “It was a year-long journey [to convince the car makers to share their data]. This is a real philosophy change. [It’s going] from a proprietary ‘we do it in secret’ approach to much more of what you’d see in other spaces and other industries that have more open standards.”
  96. 96. Israel-based Oryx Vision raised $17 million in Series A funding in October 2016 to advance development a long-range, hi-res optical radar for autonomous vehicles based on depth-sensing technology. The company’s “coherent optical radar” system uses a terahertz infrared laser and advanced microscopic antennas to scan the roadway further ahead and in more detail than LIDAR.85 The technology is said to operate without the danger of being blinded by sunlight or fog. Oryx's depth-sensing solution seeks to be the first offered at a mass market price point.86 85 86
  97. 97. With so many stories about autonomous innovation in 2015 and 2016, it’s impressive that Pittsburgh-based Seegrid was founded in 2003. The company focuses on an important niche: developing sensors and software to guide industrial vehicles around manufacturing and distribution facilities. Now the company believes it can scale the technology for everyday driving. Seegrid’s system is driven by stereo cameras the mimic human eyesight and provides a depth of field by combining image and ranging data from a single sensor. Additionally, the company’s “Evidence Grid” software captures and translates data uniquely, which the company markets as a competitive differentiator. The company has built a successful prototype based on a Nissan Leaf and is packaging its sensor kit and looking to partner with automakers in 2017.
  98. 98. French automotive supplier Valeo introduced its Cruise4U technology at the Paris Motor Show in the Fall of 2016.87 The system consists of a camera, radar, and laser scanners along with intelligent software to govern a vehicle’s operation in autonomous mode. Cruise4U forms a ‘cocoon’ that detects obstacles from 10cm to over 200m and responds in real-time to adjust driving, steering, accelerating, and braking behavior accordingly. The company successfully made 20 passes along Paris’ 35km-long Peripherique in autonomous mode for 99% of the time.88 87 vehicle-clocks-up-a-world-first/ 88 technology-stealth-autonomous-transport-robotics
  99. 99. ROBOTICS
  100. 100. Boulder, Colo.-based CANVAS Technology is building a system for end-to-end autonomous delivery of goods within warehouses, factories, and e-grocers. CANVAS is only revealing a portion of its plans for autonomous technologies at this time as it works to position itself in the market and run additional pilots. Since its founding, the company has grown to a team of 20, with employees joining the team with previous experience with autonomous technology from Google, Toyota and Kiva Systems (now Amazon Robotics).89 89
  101. 101. Perrone Robotics, Inc. is a robotics software company that has developed a complete full-stack and real-time capable robotics software platform––dubbed “MAX” ––for autonomous vehicles and general- purpose robotics. It received funding from Intel Capital in October 2016. MAX allows manufacturers to rapidly develop partially and fully autonomous vehicle and robotics applications, and enables continuous improvements in systems capabilities, including the seamless addition of new sensors, controls, maneuvers, and behaviors. Metrics gathered from past projects using MAX have demonstrated 100x and greater productivity enhancements in developing fully autonomous vehicles.
  103. 103. Even with the most advanced radars, lasers, sensors and cameras, autonomous driving wouldn’t be possible without a detailed mapping counterpart. The modern roadway is a complex system of different road types, lane markers, curbs and medians, traffic lights and signs, and more. Lacking details about the size and precise location of all of these roadway components, autonomous cars would literally be driving blind. Maps provide autonomous vehicles with necessary information upfront so the onboard computing systems can focus on detecting and reacting to other vehicles, obstacles, pedestrians, cyclists, and so on.