Who’s Winning the Self-Driving Car Race?

In this article, Bloomberg presents an analysis of the current state of the autonomous driving industry. It is a short presentation of companies such as Waymo, Volkswagen or Tesla through the perspective of several factors such as estimated time of autonomy, annual budget, current rides, methods of deployment, and key partners. The focus is on presenting the level of autonomy that the cars have reached, and the costs to build such a car that can drive on the roads.

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“In the next three years, almost all of these contenders will be able show off cars capable of navigating city streets at casual speeds along firmly fixed routes. Most of the companies now building autonomous vehicles can already handle basic driving at low speeds.” The limitation of autonomous cars are obvious: they need an accurate representation of the map of the environment they are navigating in, and clear, clean environments. They cannot work in chaotic conditions, where the poles are covered with other occluding objects or if there are no lane markings. Therefore it is important to reach an uniformization of the roads and to teach the population how to behave in a rational way in traffic.

A current focus in this domain is the communication and information sharing between cars, that poses new problems that are addressed in journals such as IEEE’s Transactions on Intelligent Transportation systems, issue 5, May 2018 . It remains to be seen how an agreement will be reached between all the companies that were mentioned in the Hyperdrive article, because a collaboration is necessary in order to solve traffic problems.

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