Autonomous Car Sales to Reach 76 Million Units by 2035, Experts Say - Dispatch Weekly

June 15, 2016 - Reading time: 4 minutes

Technologies that will make autonomous cars a road reality are still being researched, developed and tested and despite them being not available in the open market, experts are of the opinion that in a matter of just 20 years as many as 76 million units of these cars will be sold.

According to IHS Automotive the autonomous car industry has received a great impetus in the last couple of years and with huge investments pouring in, between now and 2035 76 million vehicles with some level of autonomy will be sold globally with the year 2035 alone seeing sales in tune of nearly 21 million units.

The United States will lead the world in initial deployment and early adoption of autonomous vehicles, while Japan will simultaneously ramp up industry coordination and investment ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.

IHS says that its latest forecast shows substantial increase from previous estimates and reasons for this include new investments, increased research and development work by new players, among other things. IHS says that its latest analysis takes into account key factors influencing this growth. New mobility solutions such as ride sharing and car sharing programs, increasing investment in autonomy by OEMs, suppliers and technology companies alike, research and development centers underway and improved efficiencies are expected to impact the further proliferation of automotive technologies. The IHS analysis also considers unique insight into various mobility trends forming around the world.

IHS forecasts incorporate a multitude of factors, including current market development of foundational technologies and considerable R&D announcements and collaboration projects under way. These include discussions and initiatives among OEMs and their suppliers, between OEMs and ridesharing companies, technology company initiatives and increased investment in autonomy and mobility by other entities as well.

Giving a sort of breakdown regarding how the whole autonomous vehicles niche will evolve, IHS says that the United States will be the first to deploy autonomous vehicles. The US has been working towards finding ways to work through challenges posed by regulation, liability and consumer acceptance. Deployment in the U.S. will begin with several thousand autonomous vehicles sold in 2020, which will grow to nearly 4.5 million vehicles sold in 2035, according to IHS Automotive forecasts. As in many other markets, a variety of use cases and business models are expected to develop around consumer demand for personal mobility.

As far as China is concerned, IHS forecasts that though China will be a late entrant into the scene of autonomous vehicles, it will lead in technology deployment volumes. IHS Automotive forecasts more than 5.7 million vehicles sold in China in 2035 will be equipped with some level of autonomy, the single largest market for the technology. The sheer volume of vehicles expected to be sold there as well as consumer demand for new technologies will drive growth, with more upside possible as regulators assess the potential of autonomous mobility to address safety and environmental concerns

Western European markets will take the lead in EMEA region with little more than 3 million autonomous vehicles expected to be sold in 2035 and another 1.2 million vehicles in Eastern Europe in that year. IHS Automotive also forecasts more than 1 million vehicles with some level of autonomy in the Middle East and Africa in 2035, with the potential for new and innovative business models and use cases.

In Japan and South Korea collectively, IHS Automotive forecasts indicate nearly 1.2 million vehicles will be enabled with some form of autonomous driving capability in 2035. Demographics and an affinity for technology and innovative solutions help both markets, as the Japanese auto industry unites to close the gap with U.S. and European rivals and as South Korea continues its development of world-class capabilities.

The IHS Automotive analysis also indicates that continued challenges to autonomous vehicle deployment include potential technology risks for software reliability and cybersecurity, though both of these are showing improvements as technology evolves and the industry recognizes the threat. In addition, the implementation of local and federal guidelines and regulatory standards, as well as a legal framework for self-driving cars, continue to prove challenging. Various states and regions have taken appropriate measures to begin to develop these frameworks, while others are still crafting their approach.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.