Regulators gave autonomous vehicle manufacturers a much-needed boost last week by announcing rules that eliminate the need for manual controls such as pedals or steering wheels.
But is the world ready for self-driving cars?
The future of motoring
Autonomous driving has long been the goal of many forward-thinking car companies. Roughly 30 companies in the U.S. are permitted to test self-driving vehicles on roads, with names such as General Motors (NYSE: GM), Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG), and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) all racing to be the first to mass consumer production.
Last Thursday’s ruling from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration represents a significant landmark. Previously, these vehicles were required to have manual controls as a fail-safe in emergencies. Now, however, companies can forego these controls as long as they “continue to apply occupant protection standards” in their vehicles.
The autonomous driving market was valued at $22.22 billion in 2021 and is predicted to reach up to $75.95 billion by 2027 — a CAGR of 22.75%. However, semi-autonomous vehicles make up the majority of this. Developing affordable and useable fully autonomous vehicles could rapidly accelerate the industry’s growth.
The concept isn’t without its issues though. Elon Musk has famously been promising a fully self-driving car within a couple of years since 2015, and Tesla has already had notable issues with its semi-autonomous systems.
Cruise, a subsidiary of General Motors, has plans to begin production of its driverless shuttle in early 2023. First mover advantage could be crucial in controlling the market. Tesla undoubtedly had the upper hand for years, but failing to make good on its promises has opened the door for other players.
We’ve all seen how lucrative the shift to electric vehicles was for these companies — could autonomous driving be next? Hopefully, we won’t have to wait long to find out.
Financial Writer at MyWallSt
Pádraig’s favorite stock is Nike. Growing up as a sports fanatic, seeing Nike collaborate with athletes like Jordan, Lebron, and Ronaldo inspired him and cemented the brand in his mind. Now, despite having failed miserably in his attempts to earn a fabled Nike sponsorship, he still believes in the innovation and creativity behind Nike and is convinced they will only grow stronger as the world's leading sports brand.