What are the trends driving the autonomous vehicle industry?

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  • The autonomous vehicle (AV) industry has experienced unprecedented technological advancements.
  • Regulators around the world have been tasked with creating policy and legislative frameworks for this rapidly changing industry.
  • We outline the latest trends to consider when developing mobility policies as the industry works towards post-pandemic recovery.

The transformational changes in mobility that have inspired academics and fiction writers are steadily advancing to be part of our reality. The rapid development of the autonomous vehicle (AV) industry has encouraged regulators around the world to introduce policy frameworks and legislation to enable the safe experimentation and development of the technology. As they navigate this unprecedented pace of technological advancement, we’ve examined and mapped the latest developments in the post-pandemic audiovisual industry.

Here are five key global trends in the audiovisual industry that should be considered when shaping mobility policies in post-pandemic recovery efforts.

1. The market is shifting from robot taxis to trucks and automated delivery vehicles

Increasingly, companies have started to direct their development and resource efforts towards automated delivery vehicles and trucks amid challenges to market Mobility as a Service (MaaS). The vision of the all-purpose robot-taxis turned out to be more difficult than expected, due to market demand and technological barriers. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated this situation with a sharp decrease in demand for carpooling services due to social distancing requirements and the reallocation of road space and modal priority, in favor of pedestrians and passengers. cyclists.

The audiovisual industry is going through an “autonomous disillusionment” after suffering setbacks and delays, pushing investors to seek more profitable avenues. While investors are still interested in self-reliance, the focus has shifted to convenient services such as grocery delivery and restricting self-sufficiency only for highways.

The trend reversal is also visible in companies like Waymo (Waymo Via) and Aurora, which are developing separate production of freight trucks and testing them in Arizona and California in the United States.

2. Increased deployment in dense urban cities

While most of the current pilot projects are carried out in suburban neighborhoods, the success of the future of the AV industry depends on deploying last mile MaaS driverless operations in dense urban areas like New York, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, London or Beijing. Most current pilots are limited to large cityscapes like Phoenix Arizona or the Bay Area (except San Francisco) which allow for easier test conditions and the ability to cover mileage longer. However, suburban areas alone cannot maintain a profitable AV market due to limited demand and weaker economic incentives.

Companies are therefore competing to be the first to deploy business services in one of the dense and large cities. For example, Cruise, Zoox, and Waymo focused their testing on the busy streets of San Francisco. Mobileye has announced tests in New York and plans to operate a driverless, on-demand commercial service on the streets of Tel Aviv. Additionally, companies like AutoX, Baidu, and Didi Chuxing are ramping up their testing in Chinese cities.

3. No company has yet achieved large-scale commercialization

At the time of publication, estimates indicate that the widespread deployment of autonomous driving systems without a safety driver on board will take at least a decade to materialize. The expansion of VAs is likely to be gradual and will occur region by region in specific categories of transport and with wide variations in availability across the world.

At this time, there are few examples of smaller-scale commercial adoption. Waymo One is one of the only commercial rideshare services to offer fully autonomous rides in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. Cruise is also set to begin testing commercial ridesharing services in San Francisco in the near future. Another company called Nuro is conducting driverless testing on public roads in California, paving the way for the deployment of commercial operations statewide.

4. Collaboration and consolidation sweep the audiovisual industry

Autonomous vehicles are a complex, capital-intensive technology and require funds and investments in continuous R&D. COVID-19 has amplified this reality while blurring the feasibility of shared autonomous mobility solutions. The lack of funds from large investors as well as the unforeseen future and technological hurdles have therefore led to larger acquisition deals, new partnerships and consortia.

Examples include Amazon’s acquisition of Zoox, Uber selling its AV division to Aurora, and Toyota’s purchase of Lyft’s autonomous vehicle division. The new ‘Autonomous Vehicle Computing Consortium’ (AVCC) includes Arm, Bosch, Continental, GM, Toyota, Nvidia, NXP and Denso, bringing together top automakers as well as some of the leading chipmakers and Tier 1 suppliers in the automobile.

5. Need for a harmonized approach to data sharing between various stakeholders

Mobility companies that have substantial data from test capabilities, operations and customer behaviors are often reluctant to share it with other stakeholders for many reasons such as privacy, cybersecurity and other concerns. maintaining a competitive advantage. However, such data, when merged and analyzed, could create significant value for the entire ecosystem. Companies must therefore be given enough incentive to share data in a way that justifies the resources required to do so and outweighs the perceived risks.

Sustainable mobility: policy development for data sharing.  Source: Sustainable mobility for all.

Sustainable mobility: policy development for data sharing. Source: Sustainable mobility for all.

To enable a harmonized approach to adopting data standards, it is not only important to develop a set of rules, but they must also be understood, accepted and implemented by the industry. The final part on the adoption of large-scale data standards is often hampered by obstacles such as voluntary adoption not reaching critical mass due to competitive market forces and misaligned interests.

However, in promising illustrations, companies like Waymo, Lyft, and Argo AI have deployed their open-source datasets, followed by the Ford Autonomous Vehicle Dataset and Google’s open-source Android Automotive operating system, among others.

What’s next for the audiovisual industry?

The effects of the pandemic on mobility also offer an opportunity to realize the ambitious vision of sustainable and inclusive urban mobility. To achieve this, it is essential to coordinate efforts between the private sector and governments at the local and federal levels to develop strategies that maximize benefits. We see this effort being undertaken on a global scale, one of the latest additions being Israel.

Israel has taken the first step in approving its new legislation for the testing and operation of autonomous driverless vehicles on public roads. Israel is home to $ 35 billion in mobility innovations that are reshaping the global industry, with more than 600 mobility-related startups. C4IR Israel, supported by the World Economic Forum and the Israel Innovation Authority, helps the Israeli Ministry of Transport connect with global stakeholders around the world to better understand the needs and challenges of the industry. It also helps create an agile and enabling regulatory framework that allows Israel to be an attractive destination for the testing and operation of autonomous vehicles around the world.

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