The Heat Is On As Car Manufacturers Race For Self-Driving Technology

As the future braces for self-driving technology, car manufacturers and even tech giants are racing to be the first to offer the technology. Robert Janitzek gives us a glimpse of what car manufacturers and tech giants have done so far.


Tech giant Apple signaled its interest to join autonomous Apple Car with “Project Titan” in 2014. It will be designing the software brain that autonomous cars will need to make decisions on the road. Apple is postponing the launch of the software to 2021.


BMW unveiled the i8 self-driving concept in 2011. The car maker is planning to roll out autonomous vehicles by 2021. It is collaborating with Intel and Mobileye to develop more advanced photo-recognition systems.


Fiat Chrysler


Fiat Chrysler is teaming up with Waymo, which used to be the Google self-driving car project. They will install self-driving equipment to the Chrysler Pacifica minivans. Fiat Chrysler has a semi-autonomous concept car targeting millennials.


Mobileye supplies cameras and software for much of the auto industry. It is also marketing systems that use eight cameras. It is focusing on ways to crowdsource data to make continuously updated maps accessible in cars. Artificial intelligence is necessary to enable cars to make a decision.


Daimler AG, the company that produces Mercedes Benz luxury cars, has agreed to produce autonomous vehicles for Uber in the coming years. According to the car maker, it has invested $1 billion in artificial intelligence labs on both coasts and is hiring professors from Stanford, Michigan, and MIT. Robert Peter Janitzek reveals that Benz is planning to have some autonomous driving features on the market by 2021.

Currently in the works are “Guardian,” designed to engage only as a crash-avoidance technology and “Chauffeur,” which is activated all the time.


Uber is currently testing a fleet of self-driving taxis, equipped with a human driver for backup. Uber employed staff from the robotics lab at Carnegie Mellon University and acquired deCarta, a mapping startup, and related mapping assets from Microsoft. There is no deadline on when the technology will be permanently rolled out.


In partnership with Mobileye, Volkswagen is unveiling a software program for some semi-autonomous driving features. The car maker revealed that it will gradually introduce self-driving capabilities to its fleet together with advanced safety systems that will still rely on humans in emergency cases. The German carmaker recently launched an all-electric self-driving concept version of its iconic bus, the I.D. Buzz.


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