The Race to Driverless Technology: Over $100 Billion Has Been Invested In Driverless Technology.

We’re closer than ever to driverless cars, with predictions surfacing that they could be on UK roads by the end of 2019. Understandably, this latest technological revolution is big business – and everyone wants to big the first to market.

But which companies will win the race to put a driverless car on the road?

Leasing Options have surveyed British drivers to find out who consumers trust the most to produce driverless cars, and is this trust we are placing in certain brands, matched by their investments into the technologies?

In order to gauge the trust placed in the full automotive market, the car brands were placed into separate categories according to their place in the market- involving categories of luxury, executive and budget car brands, plus tech giants and taxi companies.

The results revealed where the driving publics’ trust lay within each category:

Despite other industries joining the competition to become the first driverless car – the public are still holding their faith in automakers – as 62.6% of the public would trust a driverless car by an automaker over one by a tech or taxi company. Although 31% state that they trust tech companies to produce driverless vehicles, a mere 6% of the public trust taxi companies to produce the sufficient technology – not looking great for companies Uber and Lyft.

Luxury Brands (Tesla, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes Benz)

One of the shocking results of the study was the finding that Tesla was the most trusted brand when it came to luxury automakers. With the relative newness of the brand and not to mention a few controversies with the vehicles and management, it shows that consumers believe that the heritage luxury brands are not up to speed enough with the latest developments to produce the goods in the driverless car market and that here innovation comes before legacy.

Executive Brands (Ford, Honda, Nissan, Renault, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo)

In the executive category, Volvo came out on top, with 22.6% of the public trusting this brand to produce a driverless car.

In the same field, Renault has particularly failed to make an impact in the driverless car field – with only 4.1% trusting the established brand to produce driverless vehicles.

Budget Brands (Chrysler, Citroen, Hyundai, Peugeot)

At the lower end of the price scale in the budget category, almost half (46.7%) trust the South Korean brand, Hyundai, to produce a driverless vehicle – with much lower results for budget competitors Citroen (14.7%), Chrysler (17.6%) and Peugeot (20.9%).

Tech Companies (Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung)

31.3% of drivers trust tech giant Apple to produce a driverless car – which must hurt for former leader Microsoft to have fallen so far behind rivals in the trust levels for such an innovative product – with only 11.6% of the public trust Microsoft with driverless technology Interestingly, Amazon is trusted by 15.6% of drivers, whilst 16.2% trust fellow tech giant Samsung.

Who Is Investing In The Technology?

The total investment in driverless technology is $100 billion to date – but the companies that are adding millions of dollars to the pot might surprise you.

Volkswagen is leading the pack with an investment of a whopping $54.2 billion – giving Volkswagen a 57% share in the total $100 billion investment. This is followed by a comparatively meagre investment by Samsung of $8bn, which although is the second highest investment into driverless technology, is only 8.5% share in the total investments overall.

The 5 most recent major investments include:

  • Nov 2018 – +$50bn – Volkswagen dedicate autonomous driving development funds, spread over the next 5 years.
  • Aug 2018 – +$500m – Toyota invest in Uber.
  • May 2018 – +$2.25bn – Softbank invest in General Motors’ autonomous startup ‘Cruise’.
  • Apr 2018 – +$2.75bn – Honda invest in General Motors’ autonomous startup ‘Cruise’.
  • Apr 2018 – +$20m – Softbank and Toyota unveil ‘MONET Technologies’, a joint venture to develop mobility offerings that includes ride-hailing and autonomous driving.

See the total investments into the market, and who will win the driverless car race, here


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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