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Self-driving cars likely to cause disruption to the 'automotive ecosystem'

KPMG kpmg.com and the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) have produced a report suggesting that the implications of developments in self-driving cars will be "profoundly disruptive for almost every stakeholder in the automotive ecosystem".

As one industry executive put it, "Everything, from how we move goods to how we move ourselves around, is ripe for change."

The research for the report involved interviewing leading technologists, automotive industry leaders, academicians, and regulators to develop hypotheses on how self-driving vehicle technology could unfold and its potential impacts. The research suggests "that any company remaining complacent in the face of such potentially disruptive change may find itself left behind, irrelevant."

 

Market dynamics

The report considers current trends are unsustainable over the long-term, and new alternatives are emerging - not just from within the automotive sector, but from a host of new players and unlikely suspects. From universities, such as MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, and Columbia, to leading high-tech companies, such as Google and Intel, to start-ups, the shape of personal mobility is changing - and could ultimately transform every aspect of how we use, purchase (or not), insure, and even finance our vehicles. This transformation will have profound implications for any company within the automotive ecosystem.

 

The Path to Convergence
According to the report, there are significant hurdles on the path to convergence:

  • ImprovedPositioningTechnology: GPS offers some promise, but the technology, which pinpoints location within +/- 10 meters, isn't accurate enough to be used for safety-critical applications. GPS error-correction technologies such as RTK (real-time kinematics) are expected to be introduced in the future as the demand for accurate positioning increases and cost curves permit mass-market introduction.
  • High-Resolution Mapping: Today's digital maps lack the necessary detail to support self-driving applications, which need to "see" the environment in as much detail as the human eye. If a firm is successful in resolving the accuracy issue, it would help alleviate some infrastructure burden of a DSRC-only solution.
  • Reliable and Intuitive Human Machine Interface (HMI): The interface between driver and machine remains a complex problem. Drivers must know when and how to hand off control and take it back.That handoff must happen seamlessly, instantaneously, and safely - and drivers must be thoroughly comfortable with the process in any vehicle they use.
  • Standardisation: The regime for connected vehicles is fairly mature based on the SAE J2735 and IEEE 1609 standards, but additional standards will be needed to ensure full interoperability. A mandate, if it occurs, should provide momentum to develop them, but a question remains: What gets standardised, and what remains part of the branded experience controlled by manufacturers?

Adoption
The path to widespread adoption of advanced automated driving solutions, is predicted to take place in stages, leading over time, to reliance on increasingly autonomous or "self-driving" vehicles.

Connected-vehicle technologies will have a positive effect on the adoption of both systems, according to the authors, who think drivers will take the leap. Convergence will bring enhanced mobility and safety and reduced environmental impacts. It may also have far-reaching implications for the traditional automotive value chain and beyond. Advancements will cause a rebalancing of the automotive value chain, with nontraditional firms playing a more significant role.

 

Technologies in Development
Pros and Cons of the Technologies in Development are described in detail in the Appendix of the report.

Comments

Comments

1 person has had something to say so far

Automakers are not particularly keen on Google's robocar developments. Technology is one chapter. There is the 'ergonomics' of automated piloting to consider. Bigger still, are all judicial aspects when things go wrong, particularly in a lawyers country like the U.S.
Posted on 24/10/12 09:49.

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