This IDC Perspective provides a brief overview of recent pilot activities on public roads around the globe performed by various companies and alliances in the development of autonomous vehicles — in the pursuit of full autonomy, or SAE Level 5. Autonomous vehicles have a profound potential to transform the lives of urban residents as well as the physical development of cities themselves. They will also impact many industries, including automotive and logistics, and other facets of life. In preparation of this enormous transformation, a broad range of pilots and collaborations are under way by automotive manufacturers and technology providers in the autonomous vehicle technology ecosystem. Cities should remain focused on the developments of autonomous vehicles as they will broadly impact urban mobility for people and goods, as well as municipal fleets (of all vehicle types), and cities must be prepared accordingly.
"In the global race to be the first company or partnership of companies to bring a fully autonomous vehicle to market, companies including OEMs, technology developers, and ride-haling firms are teaming together as no one organization has all of the expertise or technology that is required for such a profound feat. Autonomous vehicles will transform not only transportation and mobility but cities and the lives within them. Accordingly, cities must stay focused on regulations, current pilots, and other development activity to be in the best position to take proactive actions to prepare for the impending disruption," says Mark Zannoni, IDC research director for Smart Cities and Transportation.