Although there seems to be a consensus in the auto industry that autonomous cars are going to become a commercial reality soon, most analysts predict that it will take at least 15-20 years before that happens. But now a new study claims that driverless vehicles could become mainstream much sooner, predicting that they are set to be widely adopted in 5 years. According to the 2015 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies recently released by Gartner, a prominent information technology research firm, autonomous vehicles are about to reach the peak of their hype cycle, which is used to depict the maturity, adoption and social application of a specific technology.
In the report, Gartner says that self-driving cars will reach the final, fifth phase of their hype cycle, which is called Plateau of Productivity, in 2-5 years. This phase marks the point when 20 to 30 percent of the targeted audience has adopted the technology, and it becomes clear that a specific innovation is commercially viable.
The report includes a graphic that shows how driverless vehicles are getting out of the pre-peak and entering the peak phase of the Hype Cycle. “While autonomous vehicles are still embryonic, this movement still represents a significant advancement, with all major automotive companies putting autonomous vehicles on their near-term roadmaps. Similarly, the growing momentum (from post-trigger to pre-peak) in connected-home solutions has introduced entirely new solutions and platforms enabled by new technology providers and existing manufacturers,” states the report.
Business Insider has released a report analyzing Gartner’s study, projecting that driverless vehicles will represent 3% of all new car sales in 2020, with 65% of all vehicles being equipped with in-car connectivity technologies, and non-connected cars accounting for only 23%. The magazine states that the long-term success of autonomous cars will largely depend on how the first commercially available driverless vehicles are received by consumers at the beginning of the next decade. If the early self-driving car models are not accepted by consumers, the technology’s widespread adoption could be delayed by a few years.
The race between automakers and tech companies to launch the first autonomous car has been going on for a while now. Google has been at the forefront of driverless car research and development over the past couple of years, but lately, Tesla Motors has been ramping up its efforts for developing a fully-functional autonomous vehicle, and Elon Musk has said repeatedly that he wants his company to become the leader in autonomous cars, which could suggest that they are really set to gain widespread adoption much sooner than previously expected.