Navigant Research Names GM, Waymo as Leaders in Autonomous Segment
It really does seem like every single automaker out there is working on autonomous technology. Self-driving cars are expected to revolutionize the automotive industry and no one wants to fall behind. Even high-performance automakers like McLaren see autonomous technology as a major part of its future.
There are a few companies, though, that are currently in the lead when it comes to autonomous vehicles. Navigant Research, a market research and consulting team, recently named its top ranking companies leading the way forward in the autonomous scene.
General Motors And Waymo Lead The Way
General Motors is at the top of the list, while Waymo is closely behind in second place. These two companies managed to beat out 19 other brands that Navigant Research evaluated on 10 criteria. The criteria included: vision, partners, go-to market strategy, technology, production strategy, product quality and reliability, sales, marketing, and distribution, product capability, staying power, and product portfolio.
"There's a vast difference between developing an autonomous car as an R&D project and building one as a real product," Sam Abuelsamid, the author of the study told Design News. "Both of these companies have built in the redundancies on the compute side and on the sensor side. They're going through all the validation and failure mode analysis that you'd go through for a production car."
Interestingly, traditional automakers dominated the list. Four out of the top five companies were major auto manufacturers. Daimler-Bosch, Ford, and Volkswagen came in third, fourth, and fifth place respectively. The rest of the list – in sequential order from sixth to 10th – included BMW-Intel-FCA, Aptiv, Renault-Nissan Alliance, Volvo-Autoliv-Ericsson-Zenuity, and PSA.
GM Is Doing Everything Right
Why did GM make the top spot? According to Abuelsamid, the automaker is putting the technology directly into the hands of consumers. "All of GM's engineering teams back in Michigan are doing the same things for the autonomous Bolt as they would for any other program," he said.
After getting a lot of seat time in the Cadillac CT6 with the automaker's Super Cruise system, we have to agree that when it comes to tech that consumers can buy at the moment, GM is at the top. Waymo, though, was one of the first companies to begin testing fully-autonomous vehicles on the road and has quickly spread to more cities across the country.
Readers looking through the top 10 list will notice a glaring omission – Tesla. The brand didn't make it into the top 10 despite being one of the first on the scene with a semi-autonomous vehicle. The reason for its sub-top 10 finish is because of the brand's poor partner relationships and its lack of engineering execution.
"Their technology is behind the rest of the pack because of their insistence on not using LiDAR," said Abueslamid. "Also, they don't have redundant compute platforms. They don't have redundant software. They don't have the redundancies they need in sensing. They don't even have ways to keep the sensors clean."
Based off of Navigant Research's list, it looks like traditional automakers have found a way to combat the emergence of Silicon Valley startups.
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