a brief history (and possible future) of autonomous cars part 2.

Will Shadbolt
April 7, 2017

Last week we discussed the history of driverless cars and left off in 2007, when a model from Carnegie Mellon won a race through an urban setting with a time of 4 hours and 10 minutes. This week, we’re picking up where we left off—and then exploring the future of these vehicles.

Soon after that race, Google started experimenting with this technology. Anthony Levandowski and Sebastian Thrun, who helped create Street View on Google Maps, developed the Pribot, a Prius model that could get pizza by itself. Following that, Google decided to form Google X, a division to handle autonomous vehicle development, and gave them challenges for driverless cars, like driving 100,000 miles in public or navigating a twisting road. Thrun and Levandowski completed these.

Since then, Google has expanded its efforts with Google X (now renamed X) and a startup company Waymo. The technology has also improved. Self-driving cars currently work by using a number of different sensors in tandem. On the front are radar sensors, which track large objects over a long range. Others track lane markings or road edges. Ultrasonic sensors near the bumpers can detect curbs and other vehicles when parking. A video camera reads traffic signs and lights. And a computer processes all of the information in real time.

Google currently uses self-driving cars to help with their Street View feature, and has received much attention for it. Traditional automakers have taken note and started work on their own driverless vehicles, filing a number of patents for autonomous driving. BMW, for example, has 142, Toyota 166 and Audi 292. Many of these companies are projected to reveal their first commercial self-driving cars in a few years, with Toyota and Nissan planning to release theirs in 2020. Tesla may even launch a self-driving model as early as next year.

Some studies have predicted that the market for these vehicles will soon grow exponentially. Between 2025 and 2035, the market for fully and partially autonomous vehicles could grow between $42 and $77 billion. And some estimates say that in 2035 more than 12 million autonomous vehicles and 18 million partially autonomous cars will be sold around the world, making up 25% of the new vehicle market.

Autonomous vehicles have come along way since their early days. In another 50 years, who knows what self-driving cars will be around? Your guess is as good as ours, but one thing is for sure: Giovatto Advertising will be there to help market them. We’ve been in the industry for 29 years and know what grabs customers’ attention. So, no matter what the future holds, stay ahead and contact Giovatto Advertising today!

For more information about the history and future of self-driving vehicles, check out getoffroad.com’s helpful infographic.