Autonomous car market to grow 36% by 2023

The global autonomous car market is expected to grow by 36% and be worth $37 billion by 2023, according to data presented by The company predicts that 5,4 million cars with at least level 3 autonomy will be on the planet’s roads by then.

The global autonomous car industry was worth $24,1 billion in 2019, according to data from Research and Markets. Last year, the market shrunk by some 3% due to the economic slowdown caused by Covid-19.

In 2021, however, the market is forecast to recover and start growing, reaching over $27 billion in value. The growth in this market means that life as we know it is about to change dramatically. For more than a century, internal combustion engines have provided the soundtrack to cities.

Walking through a city centre, the noise is constantly there. It’s a part of life in the city – and in the suburbs, too.

Those noises will disappear, as will drivers behind the wheel. Instead of relying on a driver for commands, autonomous cars will use radar, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) or GPS technology, and computer vision to sense their environment. The advanced control systems integrated into the car will then interpret the sensory inputs to detect signboards or prevent collisions.

Tech Moment – Connected user experience

One automotive brand that will offer this level of functionality in 2023 is Volvo. In fact, the company will be well positioned to capitalise on this trend well before that date. That is because the fully electric successor to the XC90 – which launches in 2022 – will come fitted standard with LiDAR technology and an autonomous driving computer system-on-a-chip.

This technology will allow the car to assist the driver and it will also improve the capabilities of a human driver in safety critical situations. Previous generations of the technology largely relied on warning the driver of potential immediate threats. However, this new safety technology will increasingly intervene as needed to stop collisions from happening in the first place.

Safety concerns abound

So, autonomous driving is actually good news for road safety. However, not all road users realise this. According to a study, 44% of drivers willing to use a fully autonomous car have safety concerns.

Around 61% of respondents were worried about potential safety issues due to machine error, and some 51% of them were concerned about safety issues due to human error. There are also concerns surrounding the disappearance of the sound of internal combustion engines.

Those sounds – while annoying to some – are vital for safety. There are other aspects of driving today that bolster safety too, thanks to a language of human-to-human communication. Take, for instance, the eye contact between road users that establishes the fact that “yes, I see you”, or that friendly “go ahead” wave. What if a car no longer makes a noise and it has no driver? What then? Autonomous cars will still have to communicate with pedestrians and cyclists; we just have to create a new, universal language for them.

Here Mikael Ljung Aust, senior technical leader for collision avoidance functions at the Volvo Cars Safety Centre, points out some of the challenges and the solutions.

So, in future, instead of hearing “vroom vroom”, fellow road users will hear a ticking sound when electric autonomous cars are slowing down and speeding up.

And the “yes, I see you” will be achieved via a light band that indicates that the car has seen the road user.

Those 5,4 million cars on the roads in 2023 are going to mark a complete new experience for drivers and road users alike. And the good news is that it will be a technologically evolved and far safer experience, too.

Source: Nikki Chennells / Haveyoursay 

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