Fully autonomous vehicles are closer to reality than ever. However, for the world’s leading automakers, the jury is still out on exactly when they’ll arrive. This is what some of the top companies are saying about when to expect next-level autonomous cars on a street near you.
Tesla has had autopilot technology in its vehicles ever since 2014. Founder and CEO Elon Musk remains optimistic on the promise of autonomous vehicles, predicting that Enhanced Autopilot capabilities, which the carmaker rolled out in phases this year, would allow its vehicles to drive themselves completely.
Audi’s A8 grabbed headlines this year as the world’s first production car to achieve level 3 autonomy. Working with chipmaker Nvidia, the German automaker expects to have a level 4 car worthy of being called self-driving on the roads by 2020.
In April, the corporation that owns brands including Mercedes-Benz announced a partnership with the German engineering and electronics company Bosch to bring level 4 and 5 self-driving vehicles to urban roads by the beginning of the next decade.
The Japanese automaker has been notably cautious in terms of self-driving cars. But Toyota told Automotive News that it aims to showcase its autonomous driving capabilities in 2020 at the Tokyo Summer Olympics and introduce level 4 vehicles by 2025.
In a 2016 interview with TechCrunch, chairman of the Renault-Nissan Alliance Carlos Ghosn predicted that there will be fully driverless cars in urban conditions first by 2020 and they will be potentially mainstream around 2025.
One of the primary partners in Uber’s self-driving pilots, Volvo introduced level 2 autonomy on its 2016 models and has set its sights on going directly to level 4 this year. Nvidia also announced a partnership with the company to develop self-driving production vehicles for 2021.
After partnering with Intel and driver-assistance technology company Mobileye in 2016, BMW’s senior vice president of autonomous driving, Elmar Frickenstein, stated that the company is on the way to delivering a car that offers SAE level 5 automation in 2021.
New CEO Jim Hackett, who took over in May, has adopted a cautious tone regarding autonomous vehicles, telling the San Francisco Chronicle site SFGate that rolling out self-driving taxis would take “longer than 2021.”
Honda is working with Waymo, the self-driving car subsidiary of Alphabet, to develop its autonomous vehicle offering. Honda President and CEO Takahiro Hachigo told reporters last June that the company intends to introduce level 4 vehicles by 2025.
Byungyong You, senior research engineer at Hyundai, explained to Drive.com.au last February that the company aims to introduce autonomous vehicles for the highway by 2020 and urban driving by 2030.