Autonomous vehicles have come a long way since Google started testing its prototypes on  California's roads. IHS Automotive expects them to go much further over the next 20 years.

Southfield, Michigan -- June 8, 2016 -- There may be as many as 21 million autonomous vehicles on the road in less than 20 years, according to the latest forecast from IHS Automotive. This is a substantial increase from previous estimates.

A statement from IHS Automotive says the forecast is influenced by recent investments in research and development by OEMs, supplier and technology companies. The new forecast is also based on a wave of recent developments and investments in this sector of the market, as well as activity within various regulatory environments.

“Global sales of autonomous vehicles will reach nearly 600,000 units in 2025,” said Egil Juliussen, Director of Research at IHS Automotive. “Our new forecast reflects a 43 percent compound annual growth rate between 2025 and 2035, a decade of substantial growth, as driverless and self-driving cars alike are more widely adopted in all key global automotive markets.”

According to IHS Automotive, the United States will lead the world in initial deployment and early adoption of autonomous vehicles, while Japan will simultaneously ramp up industry coordination and investment ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.

The latest analysis from IHS Automotive takes into account key factors influencing this growth. New mobility solutions such as ride sharing and car sharing programs, increasing investment in autonomy by OEMs, suppliers and technology companies alike, research and development centres underway and improved efficiencies are expected to impact the further proliferation of automotive technologies. The IHS analysis also considers unique insight into various mobility trends forming around the world.

”Future mobility will connect and combine many different modes and technologies, and autonomous vehicles will play a central role,” said Jeremy Carlson, Principal Analyst at IHS Automotive. “IHS expects entirely new vehicle segments to be created, in addition to traditional vehicles adding autonomous capabilities. Consumers gain new choices in personal mobility to complement mass transit, and these new choices will increasingly use battery electric and other efficient means of propulsion.”

The US market is expected to see the earliest deployment of autonomous vehicles as it works through challenges posed by regulation, liability and consumer acceptance. Deployment in the US will begin with several thousand autonomous vehicles in 2020, which will grow to nearly 4.5 million vehicles by 2035, according to IHS Automotive forecasts.

Despite a later start, IHS Automotive forecasts more than 5.7 million vehicles sold in China in 2035 will be equipped with some level of autonomy. China is the single largest market for the technology, according to analysts. The sheer volume of vehicles expected to be sold there as well as consumer demand for new technologies will drive growth, with more upside possible as regulators assess the potential of autonomous mobility to address safety and environmental concerns.

The IHS Automotive analysis also indicates that continued challenges to autonomous vehicle deployment include potential technology risks for software reliability and cybersecurity, though both of these are showing improvements as technology evolves and the industry recognizes the threat. In addition, the implementation of local and federal guidelines and regulatory standards, as well as a legal framework for self-driving cars, continue to prove challenging.

“Those who don’t adjust to a changing world will unfortunately be left behind, or will at least face a very different industry,” said Carlson.

 

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