EVs and autonomous vehicles will inevitably merge, says Lux Research
Emerging technologies analyst, Lux Research, has published a report detailing why it believes EVs and autonomous vehicles will inevitably merge as the technologies become more mainstream.
In the report, Lux Research explained that as the automotive industry evolves, two major innovations have emerged almost in parallel – increased electrification, peaking in fully electric vehicles (EVs), and increased driver assist features, peaking in the eventual launch of self-driving cars.
While internal combustion engine (ICE) technology can support self-driving cars, Lux Research believes that are a number of reasons why self-driving cars will be overwhelming electric:
- Technology-focused early adopters want both innovations in the same car: Automotive innovations are expensive, and they come to premium cars first. The company explains that Tesla’s $100,000 EVs exemplify this premium well, but the same applies to driving assist features too, which in more advanced forms add thousands to the price of a car.
- It is easier to implement autonomous features on EVs: Self-driving cars require more from a car’s electrical subsystem. The higher voltages and energy stored in an EV battery pack allows much more design freedom when it comes to self-driving hardware and software implementations.
- Wireless charging integrates with autonomy: An autonomous car can drive to an open parking spot, align itself properly, and self-charge using wireless charging. It can also move itself when fully-charged, allowing for a higher utilisation rate of charging infrastructure.
- More efficient self-driving extends range: Early studies indicate that self-driving technology may improve driving efficiency by 5% to 10%, thanks to smoother braking and acceleration, as well as more logical coasting and regenerative braking thanks to advanced mapping and predictive algorithms.
- Both technologies will mature at around the same time: Lux Research estimates that by 2030 both technologies will mature, which will allow the innovations to befit each other fully.
- Both technologies will become mandated by governments: The company believes that governments around the world will eventually require OEMs, by law, to implement both technologies. That could be from an outright ban, or a subtler policy shift that makes ICE vehicles become economically unviable, because of higher taxes, penalties, or added-cost components.
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