Other player's contributions to the self-driving future:
Acura is a subsidiary of Honda. Both have been testing autonomous cars at its GoMentum Station in the Bay Area. In May 2016 Acura introduced its second generation Automated Acura RLX Development Vehicle with updated sensors, compact flash Lidar and better radar, GPS, higher performance GPUs and CPUs and more intelligent software algorithms.
It is rumored that Amazon and Intel have been in talks to supply cloud computing to digital mapping business Here. Amazon would even be considering becoming a shareholder of the Nokia subsidiary. Also Amazon could become future partner of Fiat in the development of their fully autonomous vehicles.
Chinese electric car maker Faraday Future says it is working on a self-driving vehicle. On June 17 2016 the company gained approval to test its driverless test vehicles in the state of California. Faraday Future unveiled its first electric concept car, the FFZERO1, at CES 2015, but it is unclear when the company going to actually put a production car on the road.
Chrysler is the American subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., an Italian controlled automobile manufacturer. In May 2016 Fiat Chrysler teamed up with Google, probably the most famous name in the world of autonomous driving. The automaker will provide 100 modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans to the tech giant for its autonomous test drive program. This move will double the number of prototypes Google operates and could help it test its technology in more adverse climates. The company also joined forces with Uber to make its autonomous car technology hack-proof.
In May 2016 Honda released a new Civic LX Sedan that can be purchased with autonomous driving capabilities. The vehicle costs around 20,000 dollars. The Honda ADAS keeps the car in its lane and allows for automatic braking and cruise control. Honda has a license to test its autonomous cars on public roads in California.
Only in 2016 Hyundai got a permit to do autonomous road testing. In January to trail in Nevada, USA and around April to trail its self-driving Genesis premium sedan in Sejong, Korea. But Hyundai plans to commercialize driverless vehicles by 2020, around the same time as most of its competitors. The genesis is equipped with a traffic jam assist feature, highway driving assist and narrow passage assist.
Together with Local Motors, IBM used its cloud-based cognitive computing capabilities to create a self-driving minibus called ‘Olli’. Olli has more than 30 sensors which are embedded in the vehicle that collect transportation data as the vehicle is in motion. Using cognitive computing, Olli can analyze and learn from that collected data. Except for driving from point A to point, Olli does even more. A passenger can ask Olli a question or specific vehicle function to. By example, “Olli can you take me to the Lincoln Memorial” or “how does your GPS system work?” Olli learns as it moves and as each passenger asks for destinations it stores and remembers that for the next person. Olli will be released end of 2016 in Washington DC and Miami Dade County.
Infineon Technologies AG is a German semiconductor manufacturer selling to the automotive industry. It adds to the self-driving niche by producing radar systems, multipurpose cameras and microcontroller-based engines. It is also involved in the development of V2E technology and connected car safety measures, which it for example delivered for Audi’s zFAS.
In July 2016 Intel scored its first big partnership deal with two of the leading brands in driverless evolution, BMW and Mobileye, to develop a fully autonomous car together by 2021. Automated Driving = Big Data + Big Intelligence and that is exactly where Intel comes in: big data cloud storage, powerful processors and security expertise.
Jaguar Land Rover is the biggest car manufacturer in the United Kingdom. From 2016 onwards Jaguar will create a fleet of more than 100 research vehicles over a span of four years to test their autonomous and connected technology. One feature the carmaker is developing—in cooperation with supplier Bosch—is an enhancement of lane-keeping assist that helps drivers identify and navigate through construction zones. Another big upcoming project is around autonomous all-terrain driving.
in 2016 Kia revealed that its future autonomous car technology will sit under a new sub-brand called Drive Wise. Much later than most of the big competitors, it is the company's plan to release a fully autonomous car by 2030. By 2020 Kia says it will have a partially autonomous car on the roads, able to take on motorways and traffic jams by itself.
If you know LeEco at all, it’s likely for the Chinese smartphones or Smart TVs, but the company is also contemplating to conquer the car industry. In April 2016 the company unveiled a self-driving, electric concept car they are developing in partnership with Faraday Future and Aston Martin. More innovations, like LeCloud or driver recognition technologies that remembers and adjusts the settings to your preferences, are yet to come.
In 2017 General Motors and raid-hailing company Lyft, and biggest competitor of Uber, will begin testing a fleet of self-driving Chevrolet Bolt electric taxis on public roads. It will be the first autonomous test that uses the public as testers. Other companies have always done trails in a controlled environment with members of the press and the public. Ride-sharing customers will be able to opt-in or out of the program from the mobile app.
Completely contradicting all other EOMs, Mazda is against a driverless future. While other car companies rush to embrace autonomy, the small Japanese manufacturer intends to keep the driver in charge. This does not mean Mazda is not innovating. The company believes autonomous technology should be used for driver support, so it is mostly investing in driver assists and electrically powered motors.
Microsoft has a long history of providing software for vehicles. Ford, Kia, BMW, Nissan, and Fiat have all used special versions of Windows to create their own car interfaces. Now Microsoft is planning a leap toward building autonomous software. Volvo already signed up a future partner. Microsoft is also looking to integrate its Office 365 pack into vehicles.
In 2015 Mitsubishi released the first statements of their eX concept car, capable of autonomous speed control and lane keeping/changing on highways. Their approach is rather unusual: Mitsubishi is adapting missile guidance systems to detect road objects and avoid crashes.
in April 2016 the French PSA Groupe (including brands like Peugeot, Citroën and DS) announced that two Citroën cars had driven ‘eyes off’ from Paris to Amsterdam. The vehicles navigated 186 miles without driver intervention, with PSA claiming the cars had achieved Level 3 Automation in this mode. The ‘eyes off technology is stated to arrive by 2021, while semi-autonomous ‘hands off’ modes will be available by 2020.
Qualcomm is a semiconductor and telecommunications equipment company. Being a competitor of Nvidia or NXP, it designs chips and wireless telecommunications products. For the automotive industry it does just that. Qualcomm’s most important contributions are its Snapdragon series mini-processors, processing image images at very high speeds and V2E-solutions.
Usually the smaller brands do not tend to bring the most cutting-edge technologies launched to the market. This rule does not include Korean carmaker SsangYong. In 2014 the company partnered up with The Korean Automotive Technology Institute (Katech) and promised its first marketable driverless car by 2020. That will most probably become its Koranda, which already succeeded in speed-change on the straight road, curve driving, avoiding obstacles and other road tests.
Tata Elixsi, a division of the TATA group, showcased it autonomous parking technology in January 2015, in which the car understands where open spots are and will be able to par itself automatically. It is not yet clear when these features will be rolled out to Tata Elixsi’s lineup, but the company has made it clear that it is moving towards autonomous vehicles. The company is also designing a central car unit with extensive security measures that govern internal and external automotive communication.
Yamaha is world’s second-largest maker of motorcycles and set up its own research firm in California last year, looking into driver-assist technology for motorcycles. So far ‘Motobot’, a motorbike-riding humanoid robot, has been one of the most exciting outcomes and the R1 motorcycle model, packed with sensors to control slides, braking and vehicle movement.
Zipcar currently cooperates with the University of Michigan’s Mobility Transformation Center and auto producers including Ford, GM and Toyota in order to get behind the emerging trend of automated car tech. The car-sharing firm sees autonomous vehicles arriving on the street in 5 to 15 years.