When will self-driving cars become the norm?

Summary:Google's driverless cars can be spotted on test drives throughout Silicon Valley. But the gap between demonstration and commercialization is much further off than you might think.

Self-driving cars will be an estimated $87 billion market by 2030, but even then fully autonomous vehicles that shuttle around passengers as they read the news or take a nap will remain elusive, according to a report by Lux Research.

The opportunity will be in lower level technology, that while still advanced,won't quite be at the fully autonomous stage. Features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and collision avoidance braking will be the mainstay, accounting for 92 percent of autonomous vehicles in 2030, Lux says.

The more advanced cars--like those demonstrated by Google and Mercedes-Benz--using high-resolution special maps will only have an 8 percent share by 2030. Lux Research predicts the fully autonomous "level 4" car will not yet be on the market. In the most optimistic scenario, a technical breakthrough would enable a gradual roll out of "level 4" cars, resulting in just over 250,000 units sold in 2030, Lux says.

self-driving-car-market.jpg

The U.S. and Europe will initially lead the charge for autonomous vehicles. However, Lux predicts that China will grow rapidly to claim a 35 percent share of the 120 million cars sold in 2030. China's share will account for revenues of $24 billion compared to $21 billion for the U.S. market and $20 billion for Europe.

As the technology advances closer to unmanned cars, questions we've never had to think about will emerge. For example, who is responsible for a driverless car that is speeding or runs a red light?

Google has argued that the ticket, which to date has not occurred, should go to Google because the decisions are not being made by the individual, reported The Atlantic.

Photo: Google

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation

About

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter.

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