The next big tentpole event for evaluating how tech and automotive giants are doing on the self-driving front will be the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month.
The field so far appears to be led by Google, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Volvo, according to some third-party evaluators. In the meantime, players that so far have seemed on the fringes of this fast-developing juggernaut—such as
Baidu and Samsung—are weighing in with their own plans and developments.
CES, traditionally a platform oriented toward consumer electronics such as TVs and smartphones, has rapidly become a major staging event for automotive technology over the past few years, first focusing on connectivity inside the vehicle, then on the race to become the first self-driving automobile.
Last year at CES, Mercedes-Benz and Audi unveiled new wrinkles in their industry-leading pushes for automated driving: Mercedes with the introduction of its F 015 self-driving “research car,” and Audi with the completion of a “piloted-driving” 550-mile test journey by an A7 sedan filled with journalists from Silicon Valley to the show in Las Vegas.
This year, Audi plans to present an update on its self-driving ambitions and developments.
Meanwhile, Hyundai just announced that it’s considering developing its own computer chips and sensors used in autonomous driving to gain fuller control over components viewed as crucial to future development of driverless vehicles.
Currently, Hyundai buys parts for its self-driving technologies from affiliates and other suppliers. The company expects fully self-driving cars to be available by 2030, though some competitors believe they will be on roads long before that.
Baidu may be one of the global competitors pushing that particular envelope. The Chinese internet search giant had said that it would introduce a self-driving prototype by the end of this year along with BMW. This week, Baidu said its modified BMW 3 Series had completed a road test in various weather conditions, driving nearly 19 miles around Beijing.
Also, Samsung, the electronics giant based in Korea and a major smartphone competitor to Apple, has said that it will establish a new team for developing next-generation auto components that would place it into the global self-driving derby. It didn’t elaborate.
Clearly, Samsung doesn’t want to be left on the fringes of what has become a major focus of the digital technology business these days, as both Apple and Google push hard to develop their own cars of the future.
Posted by: theBRAND Radio / BLOG