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Autonomous Sales Predicted to Surpass 33M Annually by 2040

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Jan.3, 2018—More than 33 million autonomous vehicles will be sold globally in 2040, a substantial increase from the 51,000 units forecast for the first year of significant volume in 2021, according to the latest autonomous vehicle sales forecast from business information provider IHS Markit.

Key market dynamics influencing growth are accounted for in the latest analysis from IHS Markit. The rapid convergence of autonomous driving and mobility services such as ride-hailing is a central driver of early deployment and growth.

The United States will lead the world in initial deployment and early adoption of production autonomous vehicles as early as 2019, while Europe and China are expected to begin adding considerable volume from 2021 onward.

Mobility-as-a-Service will first bring this technology to the masses before individual ownership of autonomous vehicles enters the picture.

“The first autonomous vehicle volumes—beyond retrofit test vehicles—will arrive in 2019 through driverless mobility services,” said Egil Juliussen, Ph.D. and director of automotive technology research at IHS Markit. “Volumes will surpass 51,000 units in 2021 when personally owned autonomous cars reach individual buyers for the first time, and IHS Markit forecasts estimate nearly 1 million units will be sold in 2025 across shared fleets and individually owned cars.”

Significant ongoing investment in transportation technology by OEMs, suppliers, mobility service providers and technology companies contributes to earlier deployment timelines, while dedicated mobility service brands within many automakers contributes to higher volumes of autonomous vehicles in the forecast.

The IHS Markit analysis reflects partnerships and ecosystems forming around technology and services that will help the industry address the complex challenges around the evolution of autonomous mobility.

All of these are contributing factors to the forecast, which also incorporates a new demand-driven methodology, as the industry shifts from thinking exclusively about unit sales to usage per distance or time.

The forecast also includes a breakdown of Levels 4 and 5 of the industry-standard Society of Automotive Engineers Levels of Automation.

“Diversity of choice in personal mobility and autonomous driving technologies are both evolving more quickly than ever, but their convergence will have the greatest impact,” said Jeremy Carlson, principal automotive analyst at IHS Markit. “Autonomous mobility services can deliver newfound personal freedom to the young, old, disabled and others without reliable transportation for everyday needs” he added, “but the benefits don’t have to stop there. Fleet operators in big cities who better understand the lower operational costs of battery electric vehicles are more likely to employ them to drive higher amounts of vehicle and passenger miles traveled.”

Additionally, an increasing number of governments around the world contemplate phasing out or disincentivizing gas-powered vehicles in favor of hybrids and electric vehicles, and as OEM efforts toward vehicle electrification continue, it’s logical that air quality in cities should improve.

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