Autonomous Cars, Robotaxis and Sensors 2024-2044

It’s an exciting time for the autonomous and automated vehicle industry with the maturity of next generation technologies evolving rapidly and driverless services coming of age. This report provides a clear understanding of what technologies are available on the market, how they have been adopted so far, and how they impact downstream markets like sensors.
After years of waiting, false starts, and much hope, a new era has arrived for the automotive industry. The age of autonomous cars is beginning to dawn and the next 20-years, forecasted in this report, will be transformative for the transportation industry.
Emergence of level 3 vehicles
The automotive industry has been stuck at SAE level 2 for some time. Consumers have had access to technologies like adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assistance systems, but they have so far always been responsible for the vehicle. Some hands-free systems have come to market, such as GM’s “Super Cruise” and Ford’s “Blue Cruise”, but level 3 has been a long time coming. Audi attempted level 3 in 2017 with the A8 that came equipped with cameras, radars and LiDAR, but it was before its time and was limited by regulators to level 2. Honda successfully certified the Legend for level 3 use in Japan in 2021 after some important legislative changes, but only made 100 units available. It is Mercedes and the S-Class that has made some serious ground with level 3, achieving certification in Germany, and parts of the US. Time and again Mercedes has showcased automotive technologies on the S-Class that eventually trickle down to the rest of the automotive market.
Understanding how Mercedes have reached this milestone, what regulatory changes have facilitated level 3 vehicles and who else is working towards level 3 is critical for understanding the outlook for automated technologies in the car market. Furthermore, IDTechEx provides understanding of long-term automotive market trends that govern how long it will take for level 3 technologies to become mainstream and when the industry can expect level 4 technologies to reach the consumer automotive market.
The continued adoption of ADAS
Away from flagship vehicles and the cutting edge, IDTechEx has also measured an increase in the adoption of ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) features like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane keep assistance systems. Safety is a primary driver for the adoption of these features, particularly automatic emergency braking which contributes towards increased safety for vulnerable road users, and lane departure warning systems which can help avoid collisions on motorways. These systems are enabled with sensors like cameras, automotive radar and automotive LiDAR. Once these systems and sensors are on the vehicle it becomes easy for OEMs to start providing the convenience features, such as adaptive cruise control and high-way pilot assist, creating additional value for OEMs
IDTechEx has built a database of more than 150 of the best-selling cars from around the world in 2022, representing 29% of the total car market. Each vehicle’s features and optional extras are evaluated leading to a comprehensive picture in this report of key ADAS feature adoption and sensor requirements for the automotive industry today. Furthermore, IDTechEx has multiple years of this data, combined with analysis of over 4,000 vehicle brochures to provide long-term understanding of adoption rates in the automotive industry, guiding the forecasts in this report.
It is the prevalence and growth ADAS that is have the biggest impact on the automotive sensor market today, requiring multiple cameras and radar per vehicle. Sensor suites will continue to grow as new features become available and the industry further deploys SAE level 3, begins developing SAE level 4, and as robotaxis that can carry up to 40 sensors begin taking off. This report explains exactly what sensors are needed for each SAE level, how many sensors are going into the market at the moment, what the outlook for the automotive sensor market is, and how it will flourish with increasing autonomous technology adoption.
Robotaxis and Autonomous MaaS
In addition to progress in the private vehicle market, the robotaxi market is finally starting to enter its nascent stages. Commercial services have theoretically been available since 2017, but early examples were limited to early access groups and not general public. In 2020 this changed when Waymo started letting members of the public use its completely driverless ride hailing service in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2022 driverless ride hailing services have opened to the public in multiple cities across the US and China including San Francisco, Las Vegas, Beijing, Shenzhen and more. In 2023 Companies like Alphabet’s Waymo, General Motors’ Cruise, Baidu’s Apollo and more are spreading to more cities and increasing their operational design domain at their existing locations.
The growth and expansion of robotaxi services is highly dependent on autonomous vehicles being able to demonstrate safety. This is not easy to measure, this report provides deep analysis into robotaxi safety using data from over 450 crash reports involving autonomous test vehicles in California as well over 15 million miles worth of on road testing. In the past this data has shown that autonomous vehicle safety is improving at an exponential rate, in 2023 this analysis shows that autonomous vehicles are going to be close to human levels of safety.