30 November, 2018

Where should autonomous vehicle development go?

Countries across Europe are pitching to become leaders in autonomous technology, looking to attract outside investment to secure this position.

Realistically, however, only one country can lead the way in the technology. Therefore, Autovista Group asked readers of its website and Daily News Brief email which country they felt deserved investment and would end up leading the way in driverless technology.

The results were close, but leading the way was Germany with 26% of the vote. The country Is home to many of Europe’s leading automotive manufacturers, companies that will be taking advantage of the technology in future vehicles. Audi is already using level 3 autonomy in its A8 model. Germany has miles of autobahn and numerous testing tracks, plus leading technology companies based there. The German government is also very supportive of technology development in many fields.

The United Kingdom came in second place, taking 22% of responses. The UK has been the most vocal about wanting to be a leader in the autonomous field, with one research program recently announcing that it had secured investment from four overseas businesses. Additionally, the government has been supportive, introducing an office for connected and autonomous vehicles, while a number of universities and testing institutions are leading the charge. Cities in the country are also embracing the opportunity for testing on their public roads.

In third was the ‘other category, which garnered 17% of the poll. Comments in this section ranged from Turkey, the US and China to Malta, which one user felt would be the best place due to the small number of roads, and therefore the shorter time to get permission to test on them.

Next was Hungry, which gathered 11% of the poll. The country has just opened a large research and development testing track for the use of autonomous vehicles, hoping to appeal to car manufacturers and other technology companies. The country is also collaborating with Austria and Slovenia on the development of the systems that can be used in vehicles and has allowed testing on public roads.

With 8% of the vote was Russia and France, both large companies that are investing internally in the technology, while Norway and Finland both gathered 4%. France is home to Renault and PSA Group, a carmaker that announced last year that it plans to bring level 3 autonomous vehicles to market rather than skipping ahead to level 4 and 5. It is therefore surprising that the country polled so low. However, there is little discussion about investment by the government, although it did amend legislation earlier this year to allow testing on public roads.

Italy and Spain, both included in the survey, gained no votes.