Which companies are making driverless cars?

The race to get self-driving cars on the road is speeding up and there's big prize money at stake for whoever crosses the line first. The autonomous vehicle market will grow from $54.23 billion in 2019 to $556.67 billion in 2026, according to Allied Market Research estimates.

Waymo took the lead in December 2018 when the Google subsidiary launched a self-driving robotaxi service in the Phoenix area, but a number of other companies are closing in behind. They include a range of contenders in the UK, where the government expects to have fully autonomous vehicles on the road by 2021 and a testbed of 26km of public road in London has been launched.

We look at who's developing driverless vehicles, from traditional carmakers to technology titans.

1. Apple

Apple has been reticent about its autonomous vehicle research but rumours about its efforts have swirled since documents obtained by the Guardian in 2015 confirmed the existence of the Project Titan initiative.

The secretive project was curtailed in January 2019 when Apple dismissed more than 200 people from the division, but was revived months later by the acquisition of self-driving startup Drive.ai. The Californian company was valued at $200 million in 2017 but had struggled since then and was due to shut down when Apple snapped it up for an undisclosed sum, according to a state regulatory filing. 

Apple is also currently testing a fleet of Lexus RX450h SUVs equipped with racks of LIDAR and radar sensors in California.

2. Uber

Uber has spent more than $1 billion on its autonomous vehicle unit, which was valued at $7.25 billion in April 2019.

Months later, Uber unveiled its latest self-driving car: a modified Volvo XC90 that mixes human controls including steering wheels and brake pedals with automated installed steering and braking systems

Uber's self-driving trucks are already being trialled in Arizona and the company plans to buy "tens of thousands" of self-driving cars from Volvo. According to an estimate by the Financial Times, the deal could be worth $1.4 billion if Uber buy all 24,000 of Volvo's XC90 SUVs mentioned in the agreement.

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