A Driverless Future: Autonomous Vehicles
As the world battles with the COVID-19 pandemic, autonomous vehicles (AV) are being deployed to alleviate disruptions in the supply chain and help reduce the risks of infection. Is this a glimpse into the future of mobility?
“On the auto side, what I see is that the drive for self-automation is accelerating. We’re transitioning into a mobility area where we are not going to be dependent on another human being driving it for us,” Arthur Tan, CEO of IMI, shared during an interview with EMS Now.
If industry news is any indication, both startups and established automotive companies are gearing up to take a prominent role in the autonomous vehicle (AV) market—forging partnerships, developing technology, and investing in testing capabilities.
An American multinational tech company and one of the world’s oldest car companies have forged a partnership to develop and equip vehicles with “‘software-defined’ computing architecture for automated driving.” An American self-driving technology company and a Swedish car company will develop autonomous electric vehicles for ride-hailing use. A Guangzhou-based startup is operating a fleet of more than 40 robotaxis and 60 test cars, while a Chinese transportation company intends to have more than one million self-driving vehicles in operation by 2030. A Chinese multinational tech company has completed the construction of a 13,500-square-meter autonomous driving test facility in Beijing.
As a global manufacturing solutions company with proven technical expertise and manufacturing capabilities in the automotive market, IMI is in a position to be a part of this exciting future of autonomous vehicles.
Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are systems to help the driver in the driving process. Autonomous driving is supported by cloud data, car-to-car communication, and car-to-infrastructure communication. In consequence, ADAS systems must link to a vehicle’s communication module directly to enable fully autonomous driving.
The race to develop autonomous vehicles and ADAS is on. Major vehicle original equipment manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers, as well as disruptive newcomers, are accelerating AV and ADAS development efforts to get ahead in the race.
IMI has been working with leading automotive Tier 1 suppliers in developing camera system modules, mirror-replacement cameras, and surround camera systems. We are also building electronic control unit (ECU) modules to support steering capabilities, safety, body control, and interior systems and displays.
Helping the world battle a pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has put an enormous strain on supply chains and forced society to follow social distancing in an attempt to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. Unmanned vehicles all over the world are bridging the gap and helping reduce the risk of infection.
Mayo Clinic, a U.S. non-profit medical care and research organization, has partnered with self-driving startups in Florida. Autonomous shuttles move COVID-19 tests from a drive-through testing site to a processing laboratory. In California, driverless delivery vehicles approximately the width of a hospital gurney travel down aisles in makeshift COVID-19 treatment centers, delivering linens and medical supplies. Autonomous vehicles give healthcare professionals much-needed time and strength to do life-saving work.
Since February, self-driving vans have been delivering fresh produce to several communities in Zibo in eastern China. The unmanned vehicle can carry up to 1,000 kilograms and uses LiDar (Light Detection and Ranging), cameras, and deep-learning algorithms to navigate roads. Originally used for shuttling employees, a fleet of autonomous vehicles makes contactless deliveries to low-income, senior citizens from the food bank. With self-driving vehicles, the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach segments of society can still have access to essential goods.
Challenges and opportunities in the autonomous vehicle market
In cities around the world, autonomous vehicles have proven up to the task of delivering much-needed supplies and disinfecting streets and facilities. But the AV market faces several challenges. In an episode of the AI for Good Webinar Series, Michelle Avary, Head of Automotive and Autonomous Mobility at the World Economic Forum, pointed to three main obstacles that the industry faces today: global regulation, technological validity, and business model validity.
But given our new normal, the rewards reaped by those who take on the challenge may be great. McKinsey foresees global revenue from the autonomous-driving market to reach USD 1.6 trillion in 2030. The advent of autonomous vehicles will increase the demand for ADAS and MarketsandMarkets projects its market size to grow from USD 27.0 billion in 2020 to USD 83.0 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 11.9%.
One of the most important lessons from this pandemic is the power of technology to drive innovative solutions that mitigate health risks, enable businesses to adapt to changing consumer needs, and build the world’s resilience to future crises. Automotive vehicles are one such technology solution that should be explored and developed while prioritizing safety, security, and privacy.
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