The Status of Driverless Cars Today

By Thomas Price Saturday, December 5, 2020

With innovations in the automobile industry as diverse as the expansion of electric vehicles all the way to the creation of flying cars, there has been tremendous progress in the industry in order to keep up with the changing demands of consumers and environmental considerations. Of these many trends, one of them that has gained considerable traction has been autonomous driving cars. In fact, the reality of them being on the road is inching closer every single day with several major car manufacturers and some new ones working rigorously on it. So, exactly how close are these car manufacturers to creating a high functioning self-driving car, and which one will be delivering it to consumers first? Here is a guide to where the self-driving car stands for each major group.

Tesla

CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, has been making extremely bold predictions about the company’s self-driving capabilities for years now. However, recent developments have made his most recent claims on the matter far more exciting for many people. While his goals of having 1 million robotaxis in 2020 ended up being nothing more than a pipe dream, Musk’s more current comments about self-driving cars have stated that Tesla will have a fully autonomous car available to the consumer by 2021. These remarks have been reinforced by the recent release of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta software update. With this development, the company will likely have some form of self-driving car available to the public in 2021 though the specific month is still unknown.

Hyundai

Hyundai’s effort for a self-driving car is certainly less direct than Tesla’s, though it could possibly yield faster results. The company has backed self-driving car operator, Motional, who recently was granted a green light to roll out a full test fleet of self-driving vehicles in Las Vegas, which is set to happen in the coming few months. Hyundai had announced this venture with Motional back in March of 2020, stating that the company was willing to spend up to $1.6 billion in order to reach the level of development that many companies were ahead of them on. Although this news is promising, it appears that Motional’s personal driverless vehicles will not be available to the public until 2022.

Honda

Honda’s plan for autonomous vehicles may be released much earlier than its competitors; however, it will not have the same level of technology either. While most other companies have been aiming to reach what is considered a Level 4 autonomous vehicle, Honda has created a Level 3 version instead. In the meantime, this has gained them a jump start on everyone else with their Level 3 Honda Legend going into mass production in Japan by March of 2021. The capabilities of the car will allow for drivers to take their hands off the wheel and pedals as the software and equipment will take over for them, but there will still be instances where the driver must actually drive. The early release date will most beat nearly every other car manufacturer to the punch, even if that punch is slightly dampened.

General Motors

General Motors is also making serious strides toward self-driving cars, though they may be slightly behind some of the other manufacturers. The company’s self-driving division, Cruise, announced back in October that they plan to launch driverless cars in select parts of San Francisco before the end of 2020. These cars will not exceed 30 miles per hour at any time, and while they will be driven during the day and night, they will not be during inclement weather such as rain or heavy fog. This will be a major step in General Motors’ aspirations for self-driving cars to be manufactured and sold to the public within the next few years.

Final Conclusions

Self-driving cars are coming to the public. With dozens of companies all vying to reach the market quickly and efficiently, the technology has continued to advance at an incredible rate. It’s unlikely that people will be purchasing and riding in autonomous automobiles before, at the very least, late 2021 for those in the United States. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that self-driving cars will be a widely available option with a variety of cars and companies to choose from within one or two years.

About the Author


Headshot for author Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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