Navigant Research identifies autonomous vehicle leaders

Few technologies are disrupting the automotive industry like autonomous vehicles, with fleet managers and their drivers asking a range of questions about their implementation. Some of the concerns dominating these discussions include:

  • When will they be viable consumer products?
  • Are they likely to be affordable?
  • How can existing laws and regulations adapt?

While many of these questions will be difficult to answer until the technology's influence and accessibility expands, some manufacturers are already emerging as leaders in the technology. Navigant Research investigated companies having the most significant influence in the development of autonomous cars, finding there is already a select group of manufacturers leading the way. 

Which manufacturers are leading the way?

Google recently doubled its fleet of autonomous cars.

With Google's highly publicised autonomous car experiments - and recent doubling of its fleet - it seems likely the organisation would be considered a pioneer in this sector. However, at least according to Navigant Research, Google's efforts have been glazed over in favour of existing automotive manufacturers.

Navigant Research's analysts believe that, although there have been some significant advancements in the technology in recent years, fully fledged consumer offerings are still as far as 10 years away. Despite this, the organisation discovered there are already clear leaders in this field. 

In terms of strategy and execution, Navigant Research identified Daimler, Audi, BMW and General Motors as the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) making the most notable impact. According to Senior Research Analyst David Alexander, the demand for autonomous vehicles is likely to be a catalyst for industry competition. 

"The competition to be first to move more advanced capability into production is strong," he explained.

"All of the major global OEMs are now participating, and aside from the four manufacturers in the lead, there are four more who are slightly ahead of the pack, with another five close behind."

Autonomous cars could driving an activity of the past. Autonomous cars could make driving an activity of the past. 

Nissan unveils concept for the future

Although excluded from Navigant Research's top four, Nissan used the recent Tokyo Motor Show as a platform for advertising its vision for the future. The Japanese marque merged autonomous features with the technology from green cars to produce its IDS Concept. 

The vehicle intends to be a safe addition to the world's roads, coming complete with technology that enables it to communicate with pedestrians, including signalling "after you" when letting a person cross the road. 

According to an October 28 article published by US News, the vehicle will also be electric, highlighting the automotive world's commitment to vehicles that are safe for drivers, passengers and the environment.