Do you know the hottest trend all big companies pursuing right now? It is self driving car technology, the technology that allows car drive itself. All big companies, automakers, tech, software makers, want to take part in it, starting from Google, Apple, General Motor, Uber, Ford, Volkswagen, Tesla, Baidu, Samsung, Nvidia, Intel, to name a few, don’t forget startups like Zoox, autonomy, Aurora Innovation, and Drive.ai as well. What are the top 6 Self Driving Car Race ?
Here is the current state of several companies pursuing self-driving car technology.
1. Waymo (Google)
Google is a pioneer for a self-driving car, starting back then in 2010. At first, it was just moonshot from X, subsidiary of Google founded by Sebastian Thrun, and supervised by Chris Urmson and Anthony Levandowski. Then, because of machine learning development, a self-driving car that seemed far-fetched is now almost ready. In 2016, Google spins off its self-driving car arm into a stand-alone company called Waymo.
The analyst believes Waymo is far ahead than its competitors when it comes to the self-driving car. It has expertise in developing self-driving car software, it has logged more than 5 million self-driven miles on the road. It has a partnership with automakers like Fiat Chrysler, Jaguar, and soon Honda. It is also testing self driving car service without a human test driver in Phoenix.
The biggest American automaker bought silicon valley startup Cruise Automation in 2016 for $1 billion to catch up with a self-driving car race. GM CEO Mary Barra believes that Cruise team, led by Kyle Vogt and Daniel Kan, will help GM to make self driving car reality. Currently, GM and Cruise are testing more than 100 Chevy Bolt self-driving car in San Francisco. This week, Cruise gets $2.25 billion investment from Softbank Vision Fund that will help them accelerate effort for deploying self-driving car as soon as possible.
Tesla, led by Elon Musk, is producing Model S, Model X, and Model 3 with Autopilot technology. The difference they have is Tesla cars don’t use Lidar that most automaker use for its self-driving car technology. This autopilot currently becomes a controversy as there is fatality accident in March.
Ride-sharing juggernaut also develops self-driving car technology, citing the previous ambitious goal of founder Travis Kalanick. Uber lately faces unfortunate event as its car killed a pedestrian in Arizona.
5. Aurora Innovation
It’s startup founded by Chris Urmson, Sterling Anderson, and Drew Bagnell. These 3 are veteran in self driving car technology. Chris Urmson previously led the team in Google X, Sterling Anderson previously led Tesla Autopilot project, and Drew Bagnell was founding member of Uber Advanced Technology Center. They are currently developing self-driving car software and engage in a relationship with Volkswagen and Hyundai.
It’s startup founded by Ph.D. students of Stanford. AI expert Andrew Ng also become its board. The main difference between drive.ai and others are it develops a car that can interact with its environment such as pedestrian through its board above the car. Drive.ai recently announced that it will launch a ride-hailing service using autonomous vehicles in Frisco, Texas, in July.