Disruptions ahead for automotive industry?

January 25, 2016 at 10:11 am

The latest forecast from McKinsey Consulting on the disruptive trends unfolding in the automotive sector is very much along the lines of what I have been saying for quite a while.  It predictions comes packaged in a nice, easy to consume slick video presentation shown below.

Among the major disruptions, the ones I see having direct and tremendous social and roadsafety implications are ridesharing and vehicle automation, both aided by a confluence of technology and consumer aversion for driving/owning automobiles. Of course, the pace of disruption will be dictated by the Federal policies and that means our lawmakers must remain nimble and be willing to set aside their political ideologies to help the industry as it leaps forward.

Growth of vehicle automation. Source: McKinsey

Scenarios for growth of vehicle automation. Source: McKinsey

Check out the full report here

Chart of the Day – 180,000 self-driving cars will be shipped globally by 2020

December 23, 2014 at 6:48 pm

There is so much confusion and variation in the estimates/predictions when you hear the industry experts and forecasters talk about automated vehicles. Despite the challenges, there has been significant progress in the recent years and it is only getting more intense as the auto OEMs as well the tech geeks in Silicon Valley ramp up their investments and the research in the race to reach the holy grail.. Amidst all this chaos, comes this bold prediction.. 180,000 self-driving cars will be shipped globally by 2020.

Based on Frost & Sullivan estimates charted for us by BI Intelligence, there will be about 180,000 self-driving cars shipped globally by 2020. The market research firm adds that “you are likely to commute in autonomous cars” by 2025, which is a pretty bold statement considering that’s only a decade from now. 

And of course the source article doesn’t clearly articulate whether it is all Level 4 autonomy (no human input needed for operation)?  Do you agree with this prediction? Click here to read the article

Image Courtesy: Business Insider


Infograph: How self-driving cars will change our lives

November 5, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Image courtesy: Automoblog

Add this to one of the million other articles you would see around the web that hypes the arrival of self-driving cars and how they are going to change our lives..

Click here to read the accompanying article.


Infograph: Amazing Ways the Self-Driving Technology will Change the World

August 12, 2014 at 5:05 pm

via Visual.ly

Infographs are always a nice way to tell a story visually and this one below gets adopts that visual story telling to explain the complex societal impacts that are in the offing as the auto & tech heavy-weights like Google are vying to bring their self-driving technology to the mass market.. Imagine a world with no crashes, no traffic lights and no parking?  Mind boggling stuff for today’s drivers but that future doesn’t seem too distant anymore.. Though I think  Level 4 automation (i.e.,  completely autonomous) is at least a decade away, anyone would get excited about the prospect of not waiting for a light to turn green (or for that matter to not drivearound in circles looking for parking)…

The Amazing Ways The Google Car Will Change the World

The Amazing Ways The Google Car Will Change the World

Horse before the carriage? Auto Makers Seek Approval for Driverless Cars in States as Regulators, Insurers Weigh Liability (video)

August 7, 2014 at 5:01 pm

via WSJ

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece that covers the various efforts underway in the world of autonomous vehicles (aka driverless cars i lay people speak) and how manufacturers are working with legislators to introduce their products to the tech-hungry driving public at least in a few states across the  country.. here is a video that accompanies that article.

What caught me by surprise is the sheer volume of activity and how certain people are that they will see autonomous vehicles on the roads in just a few short years.. As much as I would like to believe, full automation (Level 4) is still a decade away and we still have a lot of hurdles on the technology, policy and infrastructure side.  As one of the interviewed researchers points out, there are many concerns that dog this challenge incl. the high cost of laser vision, the risk that radar and camera sensors won’t see properly in bad weather, and complex legal issues raised by giving control to a robot. Let’s hope we overcome these hurdles soon because we, as a society, are paying a heavy price in terms of human lives and hard earned treasure as we continue to drive with manual control (~33K people killed on American roads during 2012).

Click here to read the entire article.

Britain steers towards a “driverless” future – UK to allow driverless cars on public roads in January 2015

July 30, 2014 at 5:30 pm

via BBC

Today the British government has announced that testing of automated cars will be allowed on public roads from January next year. The tests are then intended to run for between 18 to 36 months. What more innovative is the approach they have taken to doing this.  The government has invited cities to compete to host one of three trials, which would start at the same time.  Cities interested in hosting the trials have until early October to declare their interest and the Department for Transport has created a £10m fund to cover their costs (BBC says the sum to be divided between the three winners but not sure what the criteria would be for this split). Quite novel! Good to see the British government pushing the envelope on its road safety agenda using the driverless cars. Hope this nudges other EU countries (and the rest of the world) to get their act together and pave way for the automated vehicles.

Infographic: Eyes of a Car – How LiDAR enables vehicles to detect and avoid obstacles on the road

July 22, 2014 at 6:04 pm

via WSJ Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal has an interesting article that explores the roadblock posed by sky-high prices of the LiDAR units, which offer the vehicles’ “seeing” and “navigating” capabilities , in the widespread adoption automated vehicles.  That pesky little roof mounted LiDAR unit  atop the Google’s prototype vehicle apparently cost between $75,000 and $85,000, which explains why it will be a problem for mass market. Click here to read the entire article.  What caught me is this simple infographic that accompanied the article. It nicely explains how the LiDAR works.

Image: Eyes of a Car via Wall Street Journal.

Image: Eyes of a Car via Wall Street Journal.

Video: How Many Americans Want to Live in a Driverless-City? Intel’s Futurist Discusses Future of Driverless Cars and Cities

February 12, 2014 at 5:50 pm

(Source: Bloomberg)

Intel Futurist Steve Brown discusses the future of driverless cars and cities on Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West.” Transportation and City planners better start thinking already because we know your long-range plans drafted a decade or so ago is rendered useless by the fast paced evolution of computing and automobile technology (agree with Steve that the technology is coming but it may be more than a decade away). It is time to think different and act fast!

Tampa, Florida Gets Federal Approval For Autonomous Vehicle Test Bed

February 10, 2014 at 8:30 am

via WTSP.com

The city of Tampa (Florida) gains a Federally-approved test bed for autonomous vehicles.. Local TV station News 10 offers the following scoop:

The Selmon Expressway just got a big approval from the federal government. It’s now one of only ten roads in America set up to test “connected cars,” leading to totally driverless cars. The Selmon’s elevated express lanes to Brandon are a car designer’s dream. During traffic downtimes, engineers can block off all of the entrances and have the whole highway as a ten-mile-long laboratory. The expressway authority that runs the Selmon will team up with a USF group, the Center for Urban Transportation Research, to find companies that want to come here to test their technology. Click here to learn more


Planning for a driverless car future – Univ. of Michigan @ Ann Arbor ramps up infrastructure for testing driverless cars

December 30, 2013 at 5:07 pm

University of Michigan is building/billing itself as the “go-to” place for testing autonomous vehicles (i.e., driverless cars). .. Check it out.