Self-driving cars are coming, but obstacles remain

Self-driving cars are coming, but obstacles remain

Vehicles with varying levels of self-driving capacity will start to roll out this summer, says a new report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Partially autonomous vehicles, powered by strong consumer interest, will likely hit the road in large number by 2017. And a fully autonomous vehicle is promised by Mercedes, for one, by 2025.

The first autonomous feature to become available will probably be the single-lane highway autopilot, which Tesla plans to introduce in mid-2015. GMês version, the Super Cruise, is set to appear on an all-new Cadillac in 2016. By 2017, autonomous vehicles with traffic jam autopilot and autonomous valet parking should be in dealer showrooms, followed by highway autopilot with lane changing capacity in 2018.

Obstacles remain. On a technical level, sensor technology and integration software must be more fully developed before autonomous features see mass adoption. That would cost an estimated $1 billion per OEM, the report says. Liability questions need to be resolved, too. Who would be responsible in case of an accident? How would autonomous vehicles be made cyberattack proof?

–Our survey of U.S. drivers shows that more than 50 percent of consumers would likely buy a partially self-driving car, and more than 40 percent would buy a fully self-driving vehicle,” said Lara Koslow, global leader at BCG. Fourteen percent of survey respondents said they would pay more than $5,000 extra for highway autopilot and 17 percent said they would pay that much for several features, including urban autopilot and self-parking.

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