Autonomous driving creates billion-dollar market

December 02, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Sensors, electronic control units and software required to make cars drive autonomously will create an additional market volume of up to $60 billion by 2030. This is one of the results of a study from consultancy Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. However, before carmakers and suppliers can tap this market, they will have to shoulder high investments.

Autonomous driving will change the automotive industry fundamentally, the consultancy finds - be it through new usage models like "mobility on demand" or through innovative technologies. In their study "Autonomous Driving", the Roland Berger experts express their belief that by 2030 cars will be capable of driving without interaction from the side of the driver. This will result in a huge market potential for the entire automotive value chain.

In detail, the study estimates the value of hardware components for autonomous driving will have a value of $30 to 40 billion of sales. Included in these figures are sensors, cameras, communications systems and other electronic devices like ECUs. Another $10 to 20 billion can be generated through the advanced software that makes act autonomously. According to Wolfgang Bernhart, Senior Partner at Roland Berger, autonomous driving initially will be introduced gradually, but after 2030 it will cause a "real revolution" in the industry. "That's why carmakers should now start to consider which role they intend to play in this market and align their business model accordingly."

Today's driver assistant systems like adaptive cruise control, congestion assistant or parking assistant will further evolve, enabling highly automated driving on motorways by 2020, within cities by 2025. By 2030, driverless vehicles will be commercially available that can be sent to a destination selected by the user.

Though many technological hurdles are already taken, carmakers still are facing significant challenges. For instance, autonomous driving requires the development of specific sensors, cameras and radar systems. These components can be manufactured either by large suppliers or by the automotive OEMs themselves. The development of the software solutions required for autonomous driving however is a more complex challenge. With algorithm that, for example, enable vehicles to decide whether to stop or to go by analysing the behaviour of surrounding traffic participants, OEMs as well as traditional suppliers enter unfathomed territory. They thus have to decide whether they develop