Silicon Valley wins the race to build an autonomous vehicle

Henry Ford did not invent the automobile. In the late 1800s, the world has seen a rush of innovation promoted by hundreds of companies that are fighting for a fast, efficient and inexpensive mechanical transport. Ford later became a leader through the development pipeline, ie the moving assembly line. Today, this sector is ready for the next breakthrough with the introduction of cars that run themselves. But in contrast to the initial wave of automotive innovation, the race for supremacy in the field of autonomous vehicles is concentrated among a few corporate giants. Who will be the leader in this time?

Silicon Valley wins the race to build an autonomous vehicle

Analysts Silicon Valley with SingulatityHub are six companies that, in their view, led the race to this unmanned vehicle. Three of them - General Motors, Ford and Volkswagen - are starting from scratch and is the largest automotive companies. All they need to do is to integrate self-technology into the existing fleet of mass-produced cars. The other three - Tesla, Uber and Waymo (indirectly related to Google) - the newcomers from the world of digital technology in Silicon Valley, which is necessary to build in the first place capacity.

Although it is impossible to track all stages of development of each company, we can evaluate their investments, strategic partnerships and the official press release to learn more about what happens behind the scenes. The automotive industry is generally evaluates the technology of autonomous vehicles on a scale from 0 (no automation) to 5 (fully automated). Let's look at how each of the companies favor, and assess how far they are from the "Pyaterochka".

Volkswagen: 3

Volkswagen has invested in the application to call a taxi Gett and works with NVIDIA chipodelom over the co-pilot - artificial intelligence - for their vehicles. In 2018 VW Group is to launch Audi A8, the first mass-produced car, which is gaining a C grade on the scale, "situational automation of movement." This means that the car's computer will be able to support all the functions of the driver, but the man must be ready to take control at any time.

the Ford

Ford is already selling cars with the autopilot 2 level "partial automation of driving." This means that one or more aspects of driving are controlled by a computer based on the information about the environment, for example, a combination of cruise control and maintaining lanes. Along with other investments, the company has invested $ 1 billion in Argo AI, a company developing artificial intelligence for the self-transport. In addition to the tests pizza delivery using autonomous vehicles, Ford is currently testing vehicles 4 level on public roads. 4 level function comprises "highly automated," when the vehicle can roll itself fully, but transfers control under certain conditions, such as bad weather or on a bad road.

General Motors

GM also sells cars with 2 levels of automation, after buying a startup Cruise Automation in 2016 but is now planning to launch the first ready-to-volume production car with 5 levels of autonomy, which in 2019 will be ready to travel completely independently. In Cruise AV is not a steering wheel or pedals, so people will not be able to take it over and be forced to become part of a large fleet of unmanned taxis, working in the big cities. However, the company has not yet received permission to test the vehicle on public roads.

Waymo (Google)

Founded in 2009 as a special project, Waymo seceded from Google (although they both belong Alphabet) in 2016. Although the company never did not sell and do not drive a car on a commercial basis, it managed to create a test cars that have traveled more than 6 million kilometers without drivers as of November 2017. Waymo tested your car level 5, Firefly from 2015 to 2017, but then decided to focus on equipment that can be installed on vehicles from other manufacturers, since Chrysler Pacifica.


Uber taxi on call creator application experiences autonomous cars on the streets of Pittsburgh in 2016, and the wheel is always a person on the case of failure. After the purchase of the company's self-truck Otto in 2016 for supposedly $ 680 million, Uber is now expanding its possibilities of artificial intelligence and plans to test the latest NVIDIA chips Otto transport. Also, the company has a joint developments with Volvo and Toyota.

the Tesla

The first major automaker in Silicon Valley Tesla was also the first to introduce the autopilot 2 level in 2015. The following year, she announced that all new Tesla will have the hardware for full autonomy, which means that once the software is complete it can be deployed on existing vehicles instantly. Some experts have challenged this approach, arguing that the company simply added bulky cameras that can not be as good as laser sensor systems that are used by other manufacturers. However, the company collected data from hundreds of thousands of cars that traveled millions of kilometers on any roads. So do not ignore the words of Elon Musk, who promises that the Tesla 4 level will travel from Los Angeles to New York without people in the first half of 2018.


Silicon Valley wins the race to build an autonomous vehicle

Who is in the race?

At the moment, "newbies" like Tesla, Waymo and Uber, appear to retain the palm of supremacy. While traditional car manufacturers trying to take partial automation of 3 and 4 levels of the market, new companies outperform their promoting full automation 5 level immediately. In Waymo until the least experience with this segment of users, but it can already boast a great time working out on public roads technology.

Acting as automakers focus on the complex process of integration of new technologies and business models into their existing production chain by buying new businesses. Their opponents, on the other hand, is easy to agree with the other major players, allowing you to quickly scale.

Tesla builds its own production facilities, but at the same time collecting a huge amount of critical data that will allow it to easily upgrade their cars when it is needed.