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By Ayan Biswas, Research Analyst, Mobility – Chassis, Safety & Autonomous Research

Autonomous driving to be marked by convergence of fragmented mobility modes, and developments in vehicle platforms to support integration of mechanical and electrical redundancies

Self-driving cars have been on our minds for a while now, and every passing year the autonomous industry fuels our hopes by making significant progress. The ecosystem is evolving at a rapid pace not only on the technological front but on the business front as well. A majority of OEMs and tier 1 suppliers have continuously strived to harness the benefits of developing applications that focus on the convergence of three technology pillars: Connected, Autonomous, and Electric. This convergence has allowed for the creation of a new value proposition in the market, while simultaneously familiarizing customers with the features of an autonomous ecosystem.

However, the road to an autonomous ecosystem has its own unique challenges and prerequisites. A well-developed regulatory framework stands out as being among the most important prerequisites for an autonomous ecosystem. Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) J3016 standard defines six levels of driving automation, from SAE Level 0 (no automation) to SAE Level 5 (full vehicle autonomy). At the end of 2018, SAE unveiled a new visual chart designed to clarify and simplify its J3016 “Levels of Driving Automation” standard for consumers. While this clarified a few points for consumers, the key highlights were the unconditional operation of L5 and the optional steering wheel requirement for L4. Previously, an L5 vehicle needed to be able to drive autonomously in a restricted region to be called a fully autonomous vehicle. However, new rules state that for a vehicle to be L5, it needs to be operating autonomously, irrespective of geography or technology. This has undoubtedly challenged the launch of L5 vehicles, underscoring as it does the need for new technological capabilities. This, in the short term, brings back the focus on capturing the market through advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) solutions.

Market Readies for Significant Advances in 2019

Multiple accidents and fatalities caused by autonomous vehicles made the headlines in 2018. This motivated several big players in driverless car development to suspend road testing and re-evaluate their algorithms, systems and hardware. Despite this temporary setback, advancements in the autonomous driving (AD) space continued, with companies focusing on shared mobility platforms, consolidation of electric/electronic (E/E) architecture and the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in every aspect of autonomous development.

There are new hopes for 2019, and the industry is poised to experience significant progress in driverless technology, with developments in sensor fusion solutions and tele-operation even as OEMs and Tier 1s focus on introducing L2 features in the market.

Based on rigorous analysis of the AD market, Frost & Sullivan forecasts the following five key developments for 2019:

  • L2 features to be pushed before L3

Developing and deploying L4 and L5 vehicles will take time. However, achieving differentiation through safety and ADAS features will help capture current market opportunities. A new ADAS category of L2 has emerged wherein L2 features are enhanced by integrating localizing and mapping data. Such features are expected to be pushed by OEMs and suppliers in 2019, with the objective of adding to the value proposition in the ADAS market.

  • ADAS Domain Controllers

The introduction of L2 and L3 features into existing E/E architecture will open up the opportunity to integrate discrete ADAS ECUs into a highly robust domain controller. The adoption of a multicore ADAS domain controller will reduce the architectural complexity and weight on the chassis by facilitating high speed communication and data processing in a centralized control unit.

  • AI powered sensor solution

For any autonomous vehicle to operate safely, sensors have to work in conjunction and complement each other to provide a complete surrounding picture. This year is expected to witness the transition from discrete sensor processing to sensor fusion. Also, sensor developers have consistently faced challenges in terms of accurate data capture owing to false positives and false negatives. New entrants in the market and several Tier 1 players are expected to introduce sensor platforms focused on sensor fusion and AI allowing for accurate and judicious data capture.

  • Cross collaboration of AV development projects

Frost & Sullivan believes that the automotive value chain will transition from a pyramidal structure towards a flat structure in the future. This trend will be highlighted in 2019 through multiple cross collaborations between OEMs and suppliers resulting in the reduction in development costs and improvements in solution scalability.

  • Tele-operation of cars

As the industry migrates to full autonomy, drivers will eventually handover operations to the vehicle. As per SAE definitions, an L4 vehicle will be able to carry out most of driving operations but might require humans to takeover in certain complex conditions. Also, the new regulation allows L4 vehicles to be void of a steering wheel, which means that there is no on-board backup system. Adding to this is the fact that autonomous vehicles are expected to haul packages or carry passengers who can’t drive. In such cases, having an on-board backup system like a steering wheel will not solve the issue.

Owing to all these challenges that require immediate attention, the development of tele-operations / remote operations is expected to grow. This will allow drivers to briefly take control of the vehicle whenever it is not capable of operating safely and bring it to a safe stop.

Looking Beyond 2019

In the long term, Frost & Sullivan asserts that the evolution of vehicle platforms and monetizing mobility services will propel autonomous driving towards real world deployment. As the industry progresses, companies converging their technology innovation with mobility service platforms are expected to emerge as industry leaders.

Frost & Sullivan’s research on Global Autonomous Industry Outlook, 2019, highlights key market and technology trends shaping future prospects. The research explores market trends like mobility services, peripheral services, logistics services and vehicle services, while technical trends include autonomous vehicle platforms, sensor fusion solutions, data computing and storage, and testing and validation.

On the business front, the research dives deeper into the impact of autonomy on traditional business models, focusing on ways to monetize and personalize data as the industry evolves to L4 and L5 levels of autonomy. While on the technology front, the research focuses on developments required at the platform level to add redundancies, fuse sensory data and build the necessary computational ecosystem.

For more information on the ‘Global Autonomous Driving Industry Outlook, 2019’or to receive the executive summary / purchase the research study, please write to ayan.biswas@frost.com.

About Frost & Sullivan

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