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Get ready for car-as-a-service (CaaS)

Lucas Mearian | Nov. 13, 2015
Most self-driving cars in the future will likely be dedicated to services.

Unlike traditional vehicle manufacturers, Google can leverage related technologies and information from its other projects and investments, IHS said. Google has been involved in robotics, drones and similar technologies that help in driving, including neural networks, artificial intelligence (A.I.), machine learning and machine vision.

Those additional R&D areas have provided Google researchers with expertise not available directly to traditional carmakers, IHS said. "No other company has as much relevant technology to advance autonomous driving software," said Juliussen, who authored the IHS report.

Google autonomous car software 
Credit: IHS Automovie

Toyota's recent announcement of a $1 billion, five-year investment in A.I., driverless cars and robotics is likely partly due to Google's rapid technology advances.

Google's self-driving car software is already performing better than nearly all drivers in the vast majority of traditional driving situations -- at least in good weather, according to IHS analysis.

Google's strategy is to provide the technology infrastructure, maps and software to make CaaS happen sometime after 2020.

Still lacking, however, in Google's autonomous vehicle software is the ability to predict and react to "once in a million" events -- such as performing under diverse weather conditions, unique road work, specific traffic situations and other non-traditional driving situations.

Driverless vehicles will also blow open the market for electric vehicles (EV), as driverless car mobility services will mostly happen in urban areas and will primarily be short trips; those characteristics favor EVs as the powertrain for driverless cars; they can easily re-charge themselves using existing and growing public charging networks as needed between trips, which eliminates any range anxiety.

IHS Automotive forecasts that global EV charging stations will grow from 650,000 in 2015 to more than seven million in 2021 (excluding home charging outlets).

Mega-cities and other large urban areas also will prefer low emissions and as a result, should be keen to implement fleets of driverless EVs in their communities.

IHS Automotive forecasts that the global production of battery EVs will grow from 273,000 in 2015 to 1.3 million in 2022. And global production of plug-in hybrid EVs is projected to grow from 179,000 in 2015 to over 2.4 million in 2022.

Driverless car fleets for CaaS are likely to greatly increase the sales of EVs after 2025.


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