Top 10 Autonomous Vehicle Companies to Watch in 2020

by August 18, 2020

Autonomous Cars

Here is a list of companies that are leading the market of autonomous vehicles or self-driving cars.

Imagine yourself hurrying to go to the office on Wednesday morning, and as soon as you lock the main door, you see several cars dotting the street. However, here’s the twist, these are not simple plain old cars, but self-driving autonomous cars, who can pilot their way through highway while you are busy working on that presentation you hoped to complete last night. Well, this imagination is soon turning into a reality with automaker companies lining up to launch their versions of autonomous cars. Humans will be quintessentially the backseat driver then.  According to the Allied Market Research, this autonomous vehicle market could reach from US$54.23 billion in 2019 to US$556.67 billion in 2026, with a CAGR of 39.47%. It also estimates that Europe will lead with a CAGR of 42.6% during 2019-2026. Meanwhile, Tesla, Uber, Lyft, Waymo, and incumbent automakers are feeling the frenzied competitive pressure to accelerate the advent of autonomous V2X (vehicle to everything) tech and dominate the market.

The autonomous vehicles are considered to be safer than the traditional cars, running on impressively advanced artificial intelligence systems being developed by some of the leading companies such as Nvidia, Intel. And when powered by advanced modern-day IoT sensors and machine learning technologies, these cars will be able to auto-park in the spots identified by itself. These cars rely on computer vision, RADAR, LIDAR, GPS, and odometry to detect surroundings. They use advanced control systems to interpret sensory information to detect obstacles, identify navigation paths, and other vehicles on the roads. Autonomous vehicles will reduce the dependence of  human drivers and help industries facing a lack of manpower. It will also boost the economy and save money spend by logistics companies on drivers.


Analytics Insight presents the top 10 companies leading this ‘drift.’

Waymo: In 2009, Google secretly launched its Self-Driving Car Project. It used a modified Toyota Prius with its driverless technology and got a license to turn it on Nevada state’s streets. In 2015, they achieved the world’s first fully self-driving car trip on public roads, in a car without a steering wheel gas or brake pedal. Google renamed it as Waymo in December 2016. Waymo used Phoenix, Arizona, as the site for testing Waymo One, a self-driving taxi service. These tests all had a human backup driver in their vehicles as a safety precaution. Waymo has aligned with Jaguar to create the world’s first finest electric self-driving vehicle: The Jaguar I-PACE. In addition to the camera, LiDAR, and radar sensors, Waymo cars also use microphones to detect sirens from emergency vehicles for autonomous functionality.


Argo AI: It is an independent company that started in 2017, with a $1 billion investment from Ford Motor Company. Unlike Alphabet’s Waymo or GM’s Cruise, however, Ford and VW don’t foresee Argo AI producing its own vehicles; instead, they want Argo to manufacture self-driving technology for other companies, initially for fleet-based services such as Robo-taxis and delivery firms. The exterior of Argo AI-equipped vehicles has a combination of sensors — LiDARs, radars, and cameras. The LiDAR is used to locate the distance of objects, while the cameras help with depth perception. The brand predicts that it won’t release self-driving passenger cars until 2026-2031.


Aptiv: Previously known as Delphi, Aptiv, a world’s leading technology company, provides electrical, electronic, and safety technology solutions to the automotive and commercial vehicle markets.  In 2018, Aptiv partnered with Lift to launch a Robo-taxi (Modified BMW 5 Series) service in Las Vegas in 2018.  Equipped with software, sensors, and computers provided by Aptive were available in the Lift app. Aptiv has autonomous driving operations in Boston, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, and Singapore. Now plan to expand autonomous mobility center in Shanghai to focus on the development and eventual deployment of its technology on public roads.


GM: General Motors’s self-driving vehicle unit, GM Cruise, has the world’s second-largest autonomous fleet of 180 vehicles that are undergoing testing. So far, they’ve driven more than 1.6 million kilometers (1 million miles). The company received media attention when, in 2016, bought Sidecar’s assets, and invested $500M in Lyft. It launched a semi-autonomous Super Cruise in 2018, Cadillac CT6. In January 2018, GM filed a petition in January 2018 to run a commercial ride-sharing business through autonomous Chevrolet Bolts. And has received $2.25B from SoftBank to support autonomous work. The company aggressively competes with Waymo. This year, USPTO published a patent application of GM that discloses an invention related to “Decentralized Distributed Map Using Blockchain.”


Nissan: In 2016, Nissan announced its self-driving system ProPilot. This was an ADAS (Advanced Driver Assist System), which is easy to use. However, only a single line stop-and-go technology that appears on many other vehicles nowadays. However, what Nissan is providing today is something revolutionary. The New ProPilot 2.0 now has 3D mapping navigation, and with its advanced sensors and cameras, it even recognizes pedestrians’ faces. And the most important thing that it provides is the no-hands driving vehicles. Nissan has also unveiled the 2018 Leaf with partial self-driving capabilities some time ago at the Consumer Electronics Show.


Zoox: Zoox, an Australian based self-driving startup founded in 2014, is developing the world’s first ground-up, fully autonomous vehicle fleet and the supporting ecosystem required to bring this technology to market. Sitting at the intersection of artificial intelligence, robotics, and design, Zoox aims to provide the next generation of mobility-as-a-service in urban environments. Its prototype driverless vehicle is fully electric and bidirectional, meaning it can maneuver at right angles, without actually turning. The vehicle is also not even equipped with a steering wheel; instead, two facing benches provide space for humans. It is also working on developing and operate self-driving taxis that would interminably roam the streets.


nuTonomy: Created by former MIT faculty Dr. Karl Lagnemma and professor Emilio Frazzoli, self-driving car startup nuTonomy has been getting autonomous cars on roads from Boston to Singapore, where it has been providing autonomous taxis since 2016. NuTonomy has also partnered with Group PSA, owner of European car brand Peugeot SA, to bring self-driving SUVs to Singapore. In August 2016, it launched its autonomous taxi service using a fleet of 6 modified Renault Zoes and Mitsubishi i-MiEVs. In June 2017, nuTonomy teamed up with Lyft to figure out how autonomous vehicles work in practice, whether they’re put toward ride-sharing or personal ownership. The two companies began rolling out the fruits of their labor in late 2017 with a self-driving car pilot in parts of Boston. In the same year, in November, nuTonomy joined Aptiv and is now an integral part of Aptiv’s Automated Mobility team.


Baidu: McKinsey says that the Chinese autonomous vehicle market represents a huge opportunity in the coming years. It has a dedicated Autonomous Driving Unit (ADU) that is based in Beijing and Silicon Valley and takes care of the company’s autonomous car efforts. The main hub of this company’s automation efforts is Apollo, which is its open-source autonomous driving platform. Launched in 2017, Apollo is termed as the “Android of the autonomous driving industry.” Last year, Baidu launched robo taxi services in the city about two years after Google’s self-driving unit Waymo started its pilot project in Phoenix, Arizona. The taxi services consisted of 45 autonomous cars expected to run initially on 50-kilometer-long open roads. Baidu, which has teamed up with Chinese carmaker FAW Group, has inked further agreements with Chinese auto manufacturers BAIC, King Long Motor Group, JAC Motor, and NIO for various partnerships.


Tesla: Elon Musk’s Tesla is one of the early pioneers and leaders in the self-driving cars market. It has offerings of the self-driving system “Autopilot” and “Full Self-Driving.” The latter contains more advanced autonomous features, while the Autopilot offers only stop-and-go adaptive cruise control with automatic steering. Tesla pushed its Autopilot software update to properly equipped Model S vehicles in October 2015, enabling auto-steering, lane changing, and parking features. Starting in October 2016, all Tesla vehicles were built with Autopilot Hardware 2, a sensor and computing package the company said would enable “full self-driving” capabilities once its software matured. The system traded Mobileye’s EyeQ3 for Nvidia’s Drive PX2 platform and required an activation fee of $6000 to unlock the full autonomy promised.


Nuro: This company was established by two ex-Google engineers in 2016.  Nuro is working towards an autonomous solution for last-mile and local delivery services. Nuro aims to become the world’s preeminent autonomous delivery service, allowing millions of people to have groceries and other goods delivered by autonomous vehicles instead of making trips to the store, potentially reducing traffic. Its driverless R1 pod does not have room for a human occupant; instead, it is comprised of compartments that can be filled with goods for delivery to homes. Like Zoox, Nuro is breaking new ground and building their AV from scratch. This year, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) approved a regulatory exemption for R2, Nuro’s second-generation vehicle. R2 uses a custom battery solution that nearly doubles the battery size than R1, enabling all-day operation.