The global autonomous vehicle market valued $4.74bn in 2017 but is expected to soar to a value of almost $30bn by 2023, registering a CAGR of 36% during the forecast period, according to a report by Research and Markets.
The report noted that demand for the development of these vehicles was driven by increased fuel efficiency, safety and reduced CO2 emissions in comparison to manually operated vehicles. These factors have led to a number of tech giants competing to deliver the first safe, fuel-efficient autonomous car, including Google, Uber and Apple.
Research and Markets added that the reduction in human error, such as driver fatigue and stress, is a factor also driving the uptake in development of self-driving vehicles.
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However, 2018 has seen a number of issues with the cars currently being tested, in particular back in March when an Uber self-driving vehicle hit and killed a pedestrian, leading to the company halting tests this year. In September, Apple's self-driving car was also involved in a minor crash when it was rear-ended by a human driver. Google's Waymo car has also experienced issues when interacting with human drivers or pedestrians.
A number of analysts have expressed concerns that these high-profile accidents have also set the technology back significantly.
Additionally, the report noted that "one of the major constraints that hamper the growth of autonomous vehicles is the high risk of cyber security issues and legal challenges that the autonomous vehicle market faces, where the vehicle's controlling software can be hacked and misused". This is another hurdle companies must overcome before the technology becomes widely accepted.