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Friday , 21 January 2022

Autonomous Vehicle Implementation Predictions

Potential Costs

The incremental costs of making autonomous vehicles are uncertain. They require a variety of special sensors, computers and controls, which currently cost tens of thousands of dollar but are likely to become cheaper with mass. However, because system failures could be fatal to both vehicle occupants and other road users, all critical components will need to meet high manufacturing, installation, repair, testing and maintenance standards, similar to aircraft components, and so will probably be relatively expensive.

Autonomous Vehicle Equipment and Service Requirements

  • Automatic transmissions.
  • Diverse and redundant sensors (optical, infrared, radar, ultrasonic and laser) capable of operating in diverse conditions (rain, snow, unpaved roads, tunnels, etc.).
  • Wireless networks. Short range systems for vehicle-to-vehicle communications, and long-range systems to access to maps, software upgrades, road condition reports, and emergency messages.
  • Navigation, including GPS systems and special maps.
  • Automated controls (steering, braking, signals, etc.)
  • Servers, software and power supplies with high reliability standards.
  • Additional testing, maintenance and repair costs for critical components such as sensors and controls.

Autonomous vehicle operation may require special navigation and mapping service subscriptions. Other, simpler technologies add hundreds of dollars to vehicle retail prices. For example, GPS and telecommunications systems, review cameras, and automatic transmissions typically cost $500 to $2,000. Navigation and security services such as OnStar and TomTom have $200 to $350 annual fees. Autonomous vehicles require these plus other equipment and services.

Manufacturers will need to recover costs of development, ongoing services (special mapping and software upgrades) and liability, plus earn profits. This suggests that when the technology is mature, self-driving capability will probably add several thousand dollars to vehicle purchase prices, plus a few hundred dollars in annual service costs, adding $1,000 to $3,000 to annual vehicle costs. The incremental costs may partly be offset by fuel and insurance savings. These average approximately $2,000 for fuel and $1,000 for insurance per vehicle-year. If autonomous vehicles reduce fuel consumption by 10% and insurance costs by 30%, the annual savings will total about $500, which will not fully offset predicted incremental annual costs.

Autonomous vehicles can be programed to optimize occupant comfort. Vehicle passengers tend to be more sensitive to acceleration than drivers, and occupants use travel time to work or rest (autonomous vehicle illustrations often show occupants playing cards or sleeping) so it is plausible that for comfort sake users will program their vehicle for lower acceleration/deceleration characteristics than human-powered vehicles, leading to reductions in total urban roadway capacity.

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