IHS Automotive’s study predicts people will buy 21 million fully and semi-autonomous cars by 2035.

It’s a known fact major automakers are starting to set aside more and more R&D money for autonomous driving technologies. That’s why new estimates about annual sales of driverless cars show substantially more people will likely buy cars featuring a full or semi-autonomous driving system in the next decades.

According to the forecast released by IHS Automotive, global sales of autonomous vehicles will reach almost 600,000 units by 2025. That number doesn’t seem to be very impressive, but the big boost will come after that, with IHS estimating a massive 43-percent compound annual growth from 2025 until 2035. That means sales of autonomous cars are projected to reach as much as 21 million by the year 2035.

United States is expected to be at the forefront of the deployment of driverless cars, with several thousand cars by 2020 and almost 4.5M vehicles by 2035. China will also be a major contributing factor, with sales of cars equipped with some type of autonomy forecasted to hit 5.7M in 2035.

IHS Automotive believes people in Western European countries will buy more than 3M cars by 2035 while those living in Eastern Europe will acquire approximately 1.2M vehicles. The prognosis also includes Middle East and Africa where sales are expected to exceed 1M units by 2035. As for Japan and South Korea, combined sales in those two countries will reach almost 1.2M.

The technology is undoubtedly advancing at a fast pace, but it’s going to be tricky to elaborate suitable legislation and regulation for cars fitted with semi or fully autonomous driving systems. There’s also the matter of initial consumer acceptance along with other issues that will need to be addressed, including software reliability and cyber security. With time, these problems will be ironed out, but it’s going to take a while.

Source: IHS Automotive

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