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Posted on March 13, 2017

Autonomous cars re-thought

Autonomous Vehicles Land, Water, Air 2017-2037
Suppliers such as Delphi argue that autonomous cars will sell first to organisations, notably as taxis but, after a delay, they will be bought strongly by private individuals. IDTechEx notes that many cities will ban private cars, autonomous or not. 80% of us will live in cities by 2050. Private demand is elusive from people able to pay the $5000 autonomy cost premium. See IDTechEx report, Autonomous Electric Vehicles Land, Water, Air 2017-2027 External Link.
 
At the excellent Future Powertrain event in Solihull March 2017, it was revealed that GM does not currently plan to make autonomous cars for private individuals. Promises of zero accidents are nonsense. Software, "garbage in garbage out" was cited. Professor Matthias Wellers, MD of AVI Powertrain, declared that using an autonomous taxi will be much cheaper than owning an autonomous car. Car manufacturers saw level 3 autonomy in 2020 but later years uncertain. Cyber-security matters including for the reinvented bus which, from London to Singapore, is looking like a 15-20 person driverless machine with no aisle and fast entry. Tesla sees such a bus causing less congestion by being fast loading and rapidly entering the traffic at the right speed thus minimising congestion. The distinction between ride sharing, taxis and buses becomes blurred.
 
Electric Vehicle Energy Harvesting/Regeneration 20
Next up is the IDTechEx Show! External Link Berlin May 10-11 at ten times the size with over 3000 paying delegates and a 200 + stand exhibition and 26 optional masterclasses but complementary to Future Powertrain. It covers autonomous and electric vehicles, land, water and air including legal aspects, more of the enabling technologies and issues such as sensors, advanced materials, 3D printing, printed electronics including lightweight printed ribbon cabling in buses, energy storage including a wealth of new battery and supercapacitor options and new forms of energy harvesting, motors and range extenders. One can flip between different conferences to learn lightweighting from new composites and from new structural electronics replacing nostalgic components-in-a-box. This year, one of the nine parallel conferences Electric Vehicles; Everything is Changing External Link, covers a lot on energy independent electric vehicles EIV, autonomous vehicles and even both together. Toyota, Mitsubishi, Daimler and a host of exciting startups reveal the future.