The global semi-autonomous vehicle market is expected to witness a surge in demand on account of increasing demand for innovative and sophisticated technologies. Semi-autonomous cars are those vehicles which can operate for a longer period with little human input. The vehicle controls all the safety-critical functions on its own, senses the driving conditions and allows the driver to retake controls providing sufficient transition time.
Semi-autonomous vehicle (level 3 i.e. limited self-driving level) is expected to take the market by storm. Consumers buying these vehicles will have to take into consideration the significant technological changes accompanied by them.
Semi-autonomous (and autonomous i.e. self-driving too) vehicles can help to decrease traffic congestions leading to efficient delivery of goods and services. This factor is expected to drive further the semi-autonomous car market. Semi-autonomous cars are projected to facilitate better fuel efficiency as they can accelerate and decelerate more efficiently than a human driver. Reduction in carbon monoxide emissions is another major factor supposed to drive semi-autonomous car market.
Barriers for semi-autonomous vehicles are likely to be less technological, but they may eventually be related to manufacturers and customer’s willingness to face risk and uncertainty during initial phases of the introduction of this technology. Driving conditions vary from time to time and pure reliance on technology controlled safety-critical factors can be dangerous.
Customer trust will eventually play a significant role in shaping the semi-autonomous (and autonomous i.e. driver-less too) car market dynamics. This is because people love driving cars on their own and might resist technology taking away the control.
Repair cost of these vehicles is another important factor which is likely to restrain the market as certain complicated parts are custom made for these vehicles and thus are very costly. Also, the risk of accidents cannot be negated after the introduction of semi-autonomous systems as it might be difficult to program the system according to varying driving situations.
With the advent of semi-autonomous cars, the insurance industry is likely to face an upheaval and will eventually need to revamp their business model. A major challenge for insurance industry will probably be to provide a flexible policy framework that is conducive to innovation.
Europe is anticipated to dominate the market for semi-autonomous vehicles due to focus on innovative & sophisticated technologies and increased R&D expenditure. Semi-autonomous passenger cars are projected to be commercialized in Europe and North American market owing to their importance in heavy traffics.
Asia Pacific is considered to be the largest passenger vehicle market. Changing lifestyles and focus on improving roadway network is expected to make Asia Pacific an attractive market for semi-autonomous vehicles.
Some passenger car manufacturers in Asia Pacific region such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, etc. are offering semi-autonomous car features. However, poor roads, varying traffic conditions, and disobeying traffic regulations, etc. in developing countries such as India are expected to restrain the market growth.
Adaptive cruise control is expected to be the foremost technology in semi-autonomous vehicles and is an extension of cruise control technology. This technology automatically adjusts vehicle speed to maintain a safe distance from nearby vehicles.
Adaptive cruise control technology is widely used the U.S, China, Japan, and many European countries as the majority of luxury car manufacturers are providing it as a standard feature in these regions.
Major players in semi-autonomous vehicle market include General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Tesla, Volvo, Ford. Tesla is considered to be a market leader in semi-autonomous vehicle market segment due to its upgraded technology which can easily detect the exact center of a lane. Model S, manufactured by TESLA Motors has the highest safety ratings in the U.S.
Mercedes-Benz has announced to introduce 10th generation 2017 E-class with Drive Pilot technology. Drive Pilot technology enables the car to change lanes even at speeds above 130kmph. Audi is expected to enter a semi-autonomous car specifically for urban traffic. A car equipped with this technology will steer, brake and accelerate itself for speeds up to 37kmph.
Cadillac might add semi-autonomous features in car production beginning in 2017. Nissan is anticipated to enhance the safety systems in their production cars before they enter autonomous car market. Volvo S90 is likely to utilize Pilot Assist II, a second generation pilot assist. The second generation Pilot Assist does not require a lead vehicle to analyze when to brake, accelerate and steer.
Semi-autonomous cars are expected to be commercialized in a stepwise manner to allow customers a firsthand experience of these innovative technologies. This is the first step in making these innovative technologies trustworthy. The focus will be on developing danger warning functions and driver assists systems to make driving easier and safer.
Business models of major players in the semi-autonomous vehicle market are likely to shift from selling cars to selling the driving experience. The Focus on driving experience is expected to create an entirely new market, and major players might have to share probably the market potential with new players.
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