Brazil fares badly in self-driving vehicle readiness

Lack of research and government incentives make the country an unfavorable environment for driverless initiatives, a study has found.

Brazil is the worst prepared market for the development of projects related to autonomous vehicles, according to a report by KPMG.

The country occupies the last position of a ranking of 25 nations. This compares to the 17th position held in last year's index.

According to KPMG, the situation in Brazil could have been improved with new incentive programs around vehicle efficiency, safety and research.

The country has now been overtaken by other developing nations such as Russia, Mexico and India, but the firm's lead partner for government and infrastructure for Brazil and Latin America, Mauricio Endo, argues there is room for optimism.

"There are some research and development projects underway at universities and, if the government can provide the right incentives and manufacturers can launch products at competitive prices, Brazilian consumers tend to adopt new technologies quickly, " Endo says.

Four areas were used as criteria to determine the readiness of markets: politics and legislation, technology and innovation, infrastructure and consumer acceptance.

According to the study, The Netherlands, Singapore and Norway are the world leaders in terms of readiness for autonomous vehicles, as governments focus on fostering transport modernization.

However, a leap in autonomous travel could be in the horizon for Brazil:  the country's aerospace conglomerate Embraer is one of the manufacturers behind Uber Air, the ride-hailing company's urban air mobility project planned for 2023.

According to the company, electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles offerings could be offered in Brazil at an affordable cost and help relieve bottlenecks in large urban centers. Embraer wants its eVTOL offerings to eventually become autonomous and believes electric flight could be a reality in the Latin American country in the next five years.