It seems that the optimism of self-driving cars is undergoing a bit of a reality check with experts and motor manufacturers taking a second look with a focus on repair issues and investments that are being consumed from the electrification needs on new car production models. 

With the recent high-profile accidents which included a driver death in an Uber test car, along with incidents that involved the Tesla auto pilot system. Now audited studies are being reviewed to find a way forward which is very positive because there is a slowdown of trust from by the driving public which were interviewed this past year. 

PSA Group outlook

The company reported that the problem of affordability becomes a major issue for retail sales in the middle and lower end of the car market. Cars with driver assistance systems beyond Level 3 will have no value because of affordability. 

So, the business case for this segment is to make more affordable shuttle types of vehicles to allow for mobility on demand services because demand for shared vehicles will be higher. The possibility of targeting those cases could reduce costs. The outlook in our opinion will remain static.

Volvo Future

Volvo believes the outlook for self-driving cars was more challenging technically than was originally envisaged. Right now efforts are being concentrated on developing advanced assistance systems which would enable a car to operate on the highway. That said, they would be very careful about introducing a car seen as autonomous and it is not, which would give drivers a false sense of security. With the autonomous market segment dividing into three levels – like 0 to 3 for private buyers – meaning safety features and advanced driving assistance and other levels – like 4 and 5 – moving to commercial market autonomous shuttle type vehicles and mobility on demand options.

Bentley concept

The philosophy on autonomous vehicles is that we could in reality be up to seven decades away from self-driving cars. Our view is that people who want to drive will still be able to do that for many years ahead, even if autonomous vehicles were allowed to operate on certain purpose-built highways. 

With eye watering costs to be encountered in the development in cities such as Mumbai or London, that were originally never designed for cars to operate in this way. That said, we believe that the tech giants will be reducing their investments and scaling back research in some way or another. With some timetables being pushed back or lengthened by major manufacturers like VW, and other initiatives such as joint ventures between them and Argo AI Technologies, the object is to spin off the company push into a new VW self-driving business operation with level 4 vehicles in prospect being seen on the world’s roads by 2025 in full swing.

Daimler and BMW

They are also seen to be joining forces to develop their own dedicated systems involving over 1 000 specialist engineers to make it all happen in this joint venture with the focus on top end models like the self-driving S Class or BMW 7 Series models being developed. Overall, even they say that ensuring driver safety in the use of robotics in compact urban areas was proving to be a much harder engineering challenge than was first envisaged. 

So, the autonomous driving development both in the manufacturing profile and aftermarket repair business is currently undergoing a major reality check across the world of motoring.