Accenture sees need to reboot autonomous driving

January 12, 2022 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Accenture sees need to reboot autonomous driving
The development of autonomous driving is not really getting off the ground. This realisation unites the entire automotive industry. However, there is no consensus on the question of why this is so. The consulting firm Accenture has now presented a comprehensive analysis - and says what needs to be done.

A decade ago, the development of new hardware and algorithms gave Deep Learning hope of a breakthrough. Artificial intelligence as a technology for capturing the vehicle environment, especially in combination with cameras, seemed to open up the royal road to autonomous driving (AD), write the Accenture experts in their now published white paper "Rebooting Autonomous Driving".

The report explores AI’s technical challenges to help illustrate the market opportunity and its trajectory. AD is, according to the Accenture analysts, not about to disrupt incumbent automotive firms’ business models, but the cost of doing nothing is steep. If Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) go all in and fundamentally transform their products and processes, the new configuration plays to their strength: they can use their increased assets in the field to collect an even richer dataset, the authors say.

Their recommendation: To succeed in the AD market, OEMs will need to become much more software-driven. Only a software-first model will help OEMs to leverage all the data necessary to push automation using a mechanism Tesla calls “shadow mode.” Shadow mode entails equipping every car with AD technology that continuously runs in the background—without linking to driving actuators. This process compares the driver’s behavior with system decision-making. Shadow mode is an ingenious—yet demanding—mechanism to source edge cases from human drivers.

The authors point out that the fact that the millions of vehicles out in the field represent an important asset in that these vehicles can help them to collect valuable usage data – data that are very useful for the design of new models. This asset, however, is available only to the incumbent carmakers – start-up companies have the short end of the stick, however innovative their technologies are.

Nevertheless, against the backdrop of new usage models, electronics architectures, drive technologies and connectivity options, automotive OEMs need to rethink their

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