waymo driverless car

Waymo to capture 60 per cent of driverless market by 2030, report predicts

Image credit: reuters

Waymo is expected to dominate the autonomous vehicle (AV) sector by 2030, according to a new report from investment bank UBS, which claims that Google's driverless vehicle spin-off will capture around 60 per cent of the market.

The report suggests that Google’s driverless car offshoot will be the most significant player in the industry at that point, with the exception of China which is expected to invest in its home-grown company Baidu, often seen as that country’s answer to Google.

The UBS report was based on interviews with a panel of 22 senior experts and executives drawn from the entire AV ecosystem.

“We expect Google/Waymo to pursue a dominant role as a provider of the AV ‘brain’ or operating system, similar to Android in the smartphone market,” the report states.

Waymo’s advantage as an early mover in the sector has allowed them to build up considerable technical expertise in autonomous driving in comparison to other companies working in the sector.

“Waymo is by far the leader in terms of autonomous miles driven (five million miles as at February 2018) and also in terms of miles without human intervention,” the report states.

“On top of that is the number of virtual miles driven through simulation. Again, Waymo leads with more than five billion simulated miles – 2.7 billion miles in 2017 alone. This is equivalent to 25,000 cars driving 24/7.”

Waymo also has access to a vast trove of mapping data thanks to the Google Maps service, much of which was collected long before the AV spinoff was even considered.

Data such as this is something that driverless cars will need to rely on extensively in order to best navigate the world around them, so Waymo will not need to pay for access to third-party solutions for this, having its own comprehensive data set already in house.

In addition, the sensors mounted on the AVs are expected to capture significant amounts of 3D mapping data for their respective operating systems, which other vehicles running on the same software will benefit from.

With Uber working hard on its own driverless platform, it is expected that competitor ride-sharing company Lyft will be one of the first major players to start utilising Waymo’s software en masse.

“Our panel of experts agrees that Waymo will focus on selling the AV operating system and monetise the time spent in the AV, rather than running a robotaxi service by itself,” the report concludes.

“Medium term, most OEMs that are not able to develop an in-house solution are likely to be the buyers of a turnkey solution. Smaller OEMs may have no choice but to purchase the Waymo system.”

In March 2018, an Uber vehicle in autonomous driving mode hit and killed a woman while she was crossing the street in Tempe, Arizona, USA. 

Uber responded to the tragedy by immediately suspending all North American testing of its driverless cars.

However, yesterday it was reported that Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company would resume its driverless testing in the coming months following the release of a preliminary report from federal traffic investigators.

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