The annual amount OEMs will spend on technology allowing vehicles to speed up, steer, and brake by themselves may reach $25 billion by 2020, according to the AlixPartners report. The researchers used data from consultants Dolcera and IHS Automotive to reach their conclusions. As much as $15 billion will be spent on collision-avoidance systems and electronic navigation maps, while automakers will spend about $10 billion on radar and ultrasonic sensors. One nascent technology where spending will grow especially rapidly is lidar, which uses light from a laser to track the distance of objects. Continental AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, Valeo, Autoliv, Delphi, and Denso are among the companies delving into that technology.
India-based automaker Mahindra is likely to be one of those OEMs increasing its spending on autonomous-driving technology. The company, which has a team in the Formula E electric-vehicle racing circuit, is planning to develop autonomous electric vehicles under its flagship brand, and may extend such a product line to its Ssangyong and Pininfarina brands. These efforts are notable because the Indian government officials recently said they were aiming for all of its vehicles to be battery-electric by 2030.
Autonomous driving continues to be a hot button issue amid recent crashes involving Tesla electric vehicles and their Autopilot feature. Most recently, a Model X that may have been on Autopilot crashed on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, though neither of the car's occupants were seriously hurt. US regulators are also investigating the role Autopilot played in a fatal crash of involving a Model S in Florida in May.