Last modified on June 4, 2024

Analysis of the delayed large-scale rollout of autonomous vehicles

Analysis of the delayed large-scale rollout of autonomous vehicles

5 June 2024

Despite ambitious announcements from industry heavy weights, numerous trials with shuttle busses and first commercial services with retrofitted passenger cars available in the US and China, we are still nowhere near widespread deployment of AVs.

A recent report written with support from Drive Sweden, and financed by Vinnova, Formas and the Swedish Energy Agency, analyzes technical, commercial, and regulatory challenges around automated driving (AD) and outlines potential suggestions to overcome these.

Since many of these challenges are interdisciplinary and advancements in one discipline are often hindered by obstacles in other disciplines, the report highlights these interdependencies between areas, and aims to provide a broad overview and general understanding of as many AV-related aspects as possible.

The authors have asked 25+ industry experts to state the top three reasons why the deployment is progressing slower than expected. Most experts mention:

  • the underestimated technical challenges (only a few actors have now proven sufficient maturity for commercial deployment);
  • the lack of clear market incentives that result in a (perceived) lack in demand;
  • the politicians and top managers in public and private entities haven’t fully understood the potential of autonomous vehicles;
  • the absence of purpose-built vehicles ready for industrialization:
    • mobility as a service based on AVs would require Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to drastically change their business model;
    • lack of appetite for risky long-term investments;
  • the lack of harmonization in legislation between states in the US or countries in the EU;
  • uncertainties regarding its utilization: user preferences, and willingness to pay, when the service’s main competitor, the private car, remains an attractive product;
  • the lack of hard evidence on the positive impact on societal benefits and pressing matters such as climate change, air quality, congestion (for politicians’ buy in and commitment of public funding).

In short, to accelerate deployment, public entities must contribute financially to early stage deployments, policymakers must craft regulations without a complete understanding of their implications, and industry should invest in unproven solutions with uncertain returns.

This report provides an overview of underlying market dynamics, explores the diverse use cases, value chain actors, geographic variations that cause differences in the roll-out in different regions of the world. It also includes an overview of the AD ecosystem, with in-depth descriptions of the technology itself, mobility services designed around shared AVs, operation of such mobility services, public transport, and relevant legal frameworks as well as related infrastructure. It concludes with tailored recommendations to authorities / the public sector, OEMs, fleet operators, service providers, and research institutes.

The report focuses on shared transportation of people on public roads, excluding the automation of private cars, as well as the automation of larger buses. Moreover, niche applications like airports, mines or warehouses are not included either since the authors don’t consider that a largescale roll-out with a large enough impact on the overall transport system and people’s everyday lives. The report is written from a European perspective, describing the US and Asian market mainly in how they differ from the European one.

Source: The original article was published here