The 5 Breakthroughs Powering the Self-Driving Car Boom
Inside the A.I.-infused, data-crunching race to build the perfect self-driving car. Starring more than 100 startups and the auto companies quickly swallowing them up.
The road to achieving self-driving nirvana isn't as far off as you might think.
Within four years, many car companies--Tesla, Uber, and Google's Waymo, along with traditional firms like Toyota and GM--expect to offer autonomous cars that can completely take on the driving task while also monitoring the road for any obstacles under specific traffic and weather conditions. Uber predicts that fully self-driving cars--those that need no human intervention under any conditions, including snow and fog--will be commercially available by 2030.
Advances in artificial intelligence technology have also allowed dozens of smaller, technically specialized startups to attract investment and compete for a piece of the lucrative market. A self-driving vehicle needs sensors to see where it's going and a highly accurate global positioning system to know its exact location--and that's where startups like Quanergy (a laser sensor maker) and Swift Navigation (a GPS chip maker) come in. Intelligent cars capable of communicating with one another and with outside systems--thanks to companies like Peloton and Zendrive--are also vulnerable to hacking, so startups like Argus Cyber Security and Movimento offer protection.
Some, like Zoox and Faraday Future, are manufacturing their own cars from scratch, redefining what a car should look like and how it should interact with its surroundings. Others are focusing only on the artificial intelligence software that allows the car to take over the decision making on the road. Drive.ai, for instance, a startup that came out of Stanford's A.I. Lab, is developing a system for autonomous cars to communicate with pedestrians crossing the street.
Check out the infographic below to find out more about the different ways companies are taking part in the self-driving revolution.