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Real-Time Innovations (RTI) 2020 Predictions: Autonomous Vehicles are Coming - But Not Just Yet

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual series exclusive.

By Bob Leigh, Senior Market Development Director, Autonomous Systems at RTI

Autonomous Vehicles are Coming - But Not Just Yet

The advancement of autonomous driving will certainly mark a paradigm shift for industry and society. In 2019, tech behemoths like Waymo, Tesla and Uber, and startups alike worked tirelessly to tackle the roadblocks preventing the full commercialization of driverless vehicles and fleets. But the question is when, exactly, will the rubber meet the road? Here are my predictions for the autonomous vehicle market as we enter a new year and new decade:

Riding the Other Half of the Hype Cycle

In the past few years, we've seen hype and fierce debate about when autonomous vehicles will become part of our everyday life. We see radically different timelines depending on the company and country proposing it. 2020 won't be the year cars will reach full Level 4 or 5 autonomy, as we still have major hurdles to overcome in terms of safety regulations, satisfying security concerns and weather constraints. But, I am confident we'll see significant progress and consolidation amongst technology companies, while manufacturers begin production of these autonomous systems. In 2020, companies will start to spend more money and investing in the underlying technologies that will be the critical foundation for these autonomous systems - machine learning algorithms, sensors and the underlying connectivity software. 2020 will be the year that manufacturers and companies work out the uncertainty in the autonomous vehicle business model and increase investments in the parts that really matter most. I think we'll see the launch of the first new car models (arguably, besides Tesla) that will be Level 4 capable, even if enabling that functionality is a number of years away.

The Global Race Towards Autonomous Vehicles Continues

In 2020, the race will truly begin in terms of countries striving to become the first to bring autonomous vehicles to market. According to KPMG's 2019 Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index, the Netherlands and Singapore hold the top two spots for AV readiness, with the U.S. coming in at number 4. Based on this cited information, I think China, currently holding the twentieth spot, will continue to invest heavily in AV and win the global race in bringing autonomous vehicles to market. Since China doesn't have as many stringent regulations as the U.S., 2020 could be the year they pull ahead and deliver on innovations faster than others.


About the Author

Bob Leigh 

Bob Leigh is the senior market development director of autonomous systems at RTI. He brings over 15 years of experience developing new markets and building technology companies to his role. Bob graduated from Queen's University with a degree in Mathematics and Engineering, and has used his education in control and communication systems to engineer embedded solutions for a variety of industries including energy, manufacturing, and transportation.
Published Wednesday, January 22, 2020 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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