Loup Ventures recently gathered data from the nine companies leading the race to build fully autonomous systems for passenger cars. Almost all companies are finding that delivering full self-driving is slow going, more challenging than believed six months ago.
Our conclusion is based on findings that despite progress, timelines for most projects continue to be pushed back.
We’re still still years away from seeing self-driving cars become mainstream. Our best guess remains unchanged, that 2025 will be the first year of public availability of level 4. Prior to that, we will likely see level 4 semi-trucks on the road. Our bottom line: passenger car autonomy will take longer than most think, and ultimately be more transformative than anyone can image.
In March, Honda (yes, Honda has autonomy ambitions) announced the first-ever production vehicle with level 3 autonomy, which is now available in Japan in limited numbers. It’s possible we see level 3 cars from other big car manufacturers in the coming years, such as Tesla, which has edge level 3 capabilities, now available in the form of FSD beta. Regarding level 4, the most advanced of these projects continues to be Waymo (Alphabet) and Apollo (Baidu), with Waymo being slightly ahead. Both companies have already begun self-driving taxi services limited to beta users in certain geographic regions, and both say they’re on track to expand public availability of these services late this year…
We believe the industry, including Tesla, will eventually agree that autonomy will require a combination of Lidar, cameras, and digital radar. We see the breaking point for Tesla to endorse Lidar is when sensor prices decline by 50%, likely a couple years away.
MacDailyNews Take: How ’bout never?