Self-Driving Car (Autonomous Vehicle) | LIST OF ACTIVE COMPANIES (brands and car makers)

Self-Driving Car (Autonomous Vehicle) | LIST OF ACTIVE COMPANIES (brands and car makers)

Self-Driving Car

What is a self-driving car or an autonomous car?
It was fiction a few decades ago and is a reality today. An autonomous car is a car that drives without a driver.

How is that possible? Thanks to the technologies implemented by the professionals of the automotive home automation. This type of vehicle differs from semi-autonomous cars. These are fitted with driving assistance devices that offer better comfort and greater safety to the driver.

However, the semi-autonomous vehicle cannot operate without the presence of a natural person on board, unlike the autonomous car. The race for the driverless car began in the 1970s and has been gathering pace ever since.

The results are visible in large cities with remotely controlled public transport (metro, tram) that circulates without a driver. To see an autonomous car on the roads you travel regularly, be patient. They will erupt in a few years and will most likely be electric.

What is an autonomous car used for?

A relevant question if you like to sit behind the wheel of your car, and if you refuse to leave your seat. Improving road safety is one of the main arguments put forward by defenders of the autonomous car.

This argument is based on several studies showing that more than 90% of road accidents are the result of human error. Saving lives, an invaluable asset associated with a reduction in health costs (hospitalization and rehabilitation costs). Autonomous vehicles are also accessible to more people, for example the blind, the elderly and people with reduced mobility.

The generalization of these vehicles will also have a positive impact on the regulation of road traffic and the problems of congestion in town centers. For professionals, they can be a very interesting solution for last mile delivery which considerably increases transport costs in urban areas. There are also many other opportunities, such as robotaxis, which will prevent every driver from taking their car, are also to be seized.

How does an autonomous car work?

An autonomous car is loaded with sensors. It is these sensors that send various information. They include cameras and radars. In addition to these sensors, high-resolution mapping is used. These elements provide valuable information on the real-time position of the vehicle and its driving environment.

They allow, in other words, to set the scene. As the car is not alone on the road, it integrates various communication systems to exchange information with other vehicles. It must also have artificial intelligence.

Read also: Levels of Autonomous Car (Self-driving Vehicle) From 0-5

What purpose ? To be able to make quick decisions. Like a human being. Electronics act faster than a person, a big advantage on the road when the braking distance is short.

Audi, Renault, Tesla: manufacturers and their autonomous cars

The big manufacturers have equally advanced autonomous car projects. Audi, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault, Tesla and Toyota are in the running. Most of them announced that they were thinking of marketing the first models by 2020. It should be noted that the Uber VTC service is also working on a driverless car project in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University .

While technology has progressed a lot, legislation still needs to evolve to create a statute for autonomous cars which makes it possible in particular to define liability in the event of an accident.


Here are some brands or car makers for the self-driving cars:

APPLE Titan Project

In 2014, Apple began working on “Project Titan,” with upwards of 1,000 car experts and engineers developing an electric vehicle at a secret location near the company’s Cupertino headquarters.
Apple’s Project Titan is arguably one of the most anticipated in the self-driving car world. The first rumors were of an advanced electric vehicle, but over the months, the rumors evolved towards the development of a driverless vehicle, in particular because of the very specific recruitments made by the firm at the apple, in notably poaching executives from Tesla, Volkswagen, NVidia and Carnegie-Mellon University.

AUDI always advances with its prototypes

In the past, Audi has demonstrated several of its autonomous prototypes, especially on the track with an RS7 specially prepared for driving without a driver. The German company intends to market its “Audi Piloted Driving” system on a large scale, already integrated into its top-of-the-range A6, A7 and A8 sedans. Audi is part of the Volkswagen group, which means that the technological breakthroughs of the brand should therefore be found and closely linked with other subsidiaries of the VW group.

Note also that Audi is part with BMW and Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) of the consortium that bought Here, the mapping system from Nokia, for an amount of 2.8 billion Euros.
This acquisition was carried out in a desire for independence vis-à-vis Google Maps: these German companies will be able to develop their autonomous driving systems on a “house” map.

Baidu: Chinese search engine giant targets mass production

In April 2014, the Chinese search engine Baidu joined forces with BMW to release an autonomous prototype at the end of 2015. The partnership bore fruit in December 2015, when a modified BMW 3 Series traveled around thirty kilometers around Beijing, in autonomous driving. More recently, the chairman of Baidu unveiled his strategy for mass production of autonomous vehicles within 5 years, so that “children born today no longer need a driver’s license.”

The driverless robotaxis have been launched in Beijing in what is an industry first for the autonomous vehicle sector, as Baidu hopes to have a fully operational driverless taxi service in place for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

BMW unveils its iNEXT project

BMW does not stop at its partnership with Baidu and is working hard when it comes to autonomous driving. The company had notably unveiled its “iNEXT” prototype, inspired by an i8, at CES 2016 in Las Vegas. In addition to the buyout of Here with Audi and Daimler, BMW has also signed partnerships with chipmaker Intel, as well as Mobileye, Tesla’s former partner. BMW therefore has all the cards in hand to be a leading manufacturer of self-driving cars.

To ensure safe driving in urban settings, BMW is investing heavily in development of environment recognition technology with machine learning capabilities. Both high-performance sensor technologies such as computer vision and innovative sensor fusion methods are used. These technologies maximize the benefits of BMW driver assistance systems.

BOSCH assigns more than 2,000 engineers to driver assistance

Often less publicized than other manufacturers, Bosch is one of the largest suppliers of auto parts in the world, with customers like Porsche, Google and Tesla. The company has also started the shift towards autonomous driving by dedicating 2,000 engineers to this field. More recently, Bosch transformed two Tesla Model S into fully autonomous cars, using more than $ 225,000 in equipment and more than 1,400 hours of work per vehicle.

FORD continues its progress and increases its investments

At the start of 2015, Ford announced its “Smart Mobility Plan” to “accentuate innovation”, through the two major axes of connected vehicles and autonomous vehicles. This strategy led to the creation, in March 2016, of a Ford Smart Mobility subsidiary.

Ford announced earlier this year the tripling of its fleet of prototypes, going from 10 to 30 Ford Fusion (Mondeo) hybrids. The brand was the first to test autonomous vehicles in difficult conditions, such as snow in Michigan or at night.

GOOGLE still essential

Google is behind one of the most publicized self-driving car programs, the Google Car.
It is the company that was able to rack up the most kilometers traveled, in an urban and semi-urban environment presenting complex situations. Since 2009, the company has driven more than 2 million miles (~ 3,200,000 kilometers) in the states of California, Texas, Washington and Arizona.

If there were some difficulties, in particular with the departure of Chris Urmson, or the accident in which a Google Car was involved, Google remains an actor considered to be very serious and continues to communicate on its progress, in order to “issue a the most efficient autonomous driving system possible”. Waymo (Formerly the Google Self-Driving Car Project).

HONDA tests autonomous vehicles

Honda has received, like Google, an authorization from California to circulate its prototypes of autonomous vehicles. The company is also testing its prototypes on the basis of “GoMentum Station” tests, where Apple has also carried out tests. Honda also offers semi-autonomous features (lane keeping, automatic braking and automatic speed) on its Civic models, which is not necessarily original, but interesting from the point of view of the price of these models (around € 20,000 new).

Honda aims to realize automated drive that the driver has a sense of confidence and trust in. Honda is developing technology that accurately forecasts risks under any circumstance, gives the driver, and those around, a sense of confidence, does not cause dangerous situations, and stays away from danger.

HYUNDAI wants to be more pessimistic about the arrival of driverless cars

After announcing the launch of its driverless car and communicating about its Smart Cruise Control through an advertisement, Hyundai back-pedaled slightly at the end of 2015 by announcing, via its European manager Thomas Schmid, that “autonomous driving could happen, but not as quickly as everyone says, in 10 or 15 years. ” Thomas Schmid notably cited legislation as one of the factors that could slow the arrival of autonomous vehicles.
However, he explains “to be 100% sure that this technology will be part of future projects”.

MERCEDES BENZ is still a strong competitor

Mercedes-Benz is a major player in the autonomous driving sector, in particular thanks to its frequent demonstrations and its unveilings of concept cars with a futuristic design. After its thunderous debut marked by the F015 and Vision prototypes, Mercedes-Benz has gradually integrated, like other luxury car brands, semi-autonomous features in its top-of-the-range sedans.

Thanks to the development of this technology, the brand also intends to launch into the luxury limousine service, and could come to work on the beds of Uber and its premium service “Uber Black”.

MICROSOFT arrives late but intends to participate

Rather late in the field of driverless driving, Microsoft began its entry last November thanks to a research and development partnership with Volvo. Microsoft notably plans to adapt the HoloLens, an augmented reality headset, for automobile use. According to the company, Microsoft does not intend to build a full-fledged vehicle but wants to take part in the advancement of technology, in particular through the development of certain driving assistance features.

AirSim has been developed as a plugin for Unreal Engine, a popular tool for game development. This means that the car simulation is decoupled from the environment it runs in.


The Franco-Japanese alliance took a keen interest in unmanned vehicles, and unveiled the Next Two at the end of 2015. Carlos Ghosn, the group’s CEO, announced that by 2020, at least 10 models marketed will carry substantial autonomous functions.

For its part, Nissan continues to test an autonomous Nissan Leaf on the roads of Tokyo since its first public presentation in 2013 and presented a futuristic model at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Nissan and Toyota have also announced that they will join forces to develop an intelligent mapping system, in response to the acquisition of HERE by the consortium of German manufacturers BMW, Audi and Daimler.

NVIDIA puts its know-how at the service of the autonomous car

Nvidia surprised everyone at CES 2016 by unveiling the Nvidia Drive PX2, an on-board computer dedicated to autonomous vehicles. The computing power of this supercomputer is announced at 8 TeraFlops, or about the power of 150 MacBook Pro. It will be used in particular to accelerate, according to Nvidia, the speed of machine learning and to be able to merge the flows of the various sensors on board autonomous vehicles in order to offer a 360 ° and 3-dimensional view of the car as well as of its close environment.
Nvidia has already convinced manufacturers like Volvo, which will integrate the PX2 platform in 100 XC90 SUVs through the DriveMe program, or even events like RoboRace, where future vehicles will embed the Drive PX2.

PSA: Peugeot Citroën continues its efforts

After its successful crossings of France, PSA intends to accelerate its development in the driverless vehicle sector. Out of debt and carried by its CEO Carlos Tavares, PSA wants to deploy its “hands-off” (semi-autonomous) functionalities in 2018, and “eyes-off” (autonomous) in 2021.

With record financial results for the first half of 2016, the group will also launch an “unprecedented product offensive” which should lead to the arrival of new prototypes and functions linked to automated driving.

TESLA equips its latest models for 100% autonomous driving

Tesla is probably neck and neck with Google when it comes to media coverage of its semi-autonomous cars. It is the first manufacturer to have democratized autonomous driving, thanks to the Autopilot 7.0 update, in October 2015.
More recently, the company split from MobilEye shortly after a Model S crash that claimed the life of its driver. Elon Musk, the emblematic CEO of Tesla, is among the most optimistic about the deadline: according to him, the technology of autonomous driving systems will arrive in “two or three years”, to which it will be necessary to add “1 to 5 years” for that the sector is properly delimited by the various regulations.

On October 19, 2016, Tesla announced on its official website that as of that date, all Tesla vehicles manufactured in their factory “will carry the materials and equipment necessary for full autonomous driving.” Future vehicles will therefore be equipped with eight cameras (against one currently), to allow a 360-degree view around the car, 15 ultrasonic sensors as well as Nvidia’s Drive PX2 platform.
Tesla already seems very determined to set up its cars and could be the first manufacturer to market a 100% autonomous model.

TOYOTA releases US$ 1 billion for driverless driving

After its recent investment of a billion dollars, Toyota intends to divide its tasks between its research partners, namely the University of Michigan (which would work on 100% autonomous prototypes), Stanford University (semi-autonomous features ), and MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (machine learning). The company has set a deadline of 2021 to deploy “smart features” on its vehicles.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) is researching how to bring together the instinctive reflexes of professional drivers and automated driving technology that uses the calculated foresight of a supercomputer. Using a Toyota GR Supra, TRI will learn from some of the skilled drivers in the world to develop sophisticated vehicle control many algorithms. The project’s goal is to design a new level of active safety technology for the Toyota Guardian™ approach of amplifying human driving abilities and helping keep people safe.

UBER works with Ford on autonomous prototypes

After poaching the entire Carnegie-Mellon University team (40 engineers), Uber stepped up its stance on the self-driving car by partnering with the University of Arizona to develop better mapping and mapping technologies. imagery. In May 2016, Uber unveiled for the first time its prototypes from its “Advanced Technologies Center”. These were modified Ford Fusion (Mondeo).

Uber’s investments in this area are particularly controversial because autonomous vehicles could eventually replace Uber drivers working for the brand. Despite everything, this does not frighten the brand, which does not hesitate to communicate on its technological advances.

VOLVO diversifies its efforts in driverless driving

After announcing that there would be no more deaths in its vehicles from 2020, Volvo was the first automaker to communicate publicly on the issue of self-driving car insurance, announcing that it would take responsibility for all accidents that an autonomous Volvo vehicle could cause.

In 2017, the company gave 100 Swedish citizens access to the “DriveMe” program, which consists of early access to autonomous XC90s. This program will obviously be subject to restrictions (location, time, etc.).

The company presented an autonomous truck project that could appeal to road freight, mining or construction companies.

Sources: PinterPandai, Mercedes Benz, Google (Waymo), Audi, Ford, Volvo, Automated Toyota, Tesla, Hyundai, Peugeot Renault Group, Microsoft

Photo credit: Alexander Migl / Wikimedia Commons

Video: YouTube

Main photo description: Vision Urbanetic from Mercedes, the autonomous concept car that can transport people or goods.
Mercedes-Benz unveiled Monday, September 10, 2018 the Vision Urbanetic, an autonomous concept car that can be used for the transport of people or goods. The principle ? A chassis and two interchangeable bodies.

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