Autonomous cars are a common topic amidst enthusiasts discussing the automotive world, however no one yet sees or acknowledges self-driving cars as a part of our reality. According to a recent study by the British Juniper Research, there should be almost 20 million fully autonomous or self-driving vehicles on the road by 2025, with consumers already adopting them in 2021.

Driverless cars will most probably first appear on West European and North American roads, where the largest part of live trials is already taking place. Helping them on the way to major public acceptance is also the fact that cars today are already largely equipped with systems such as adaptive cruise control, automated parking and automated braking. Researchers say these systems will play a cruical role in psychologically preparing divers for the change of becoming solely operators of driverless cars instead of keeping their current positions of actively involved drivers.

Juniper Research findings also show, who are the top five most promising developers of fully autonomous cars – namely, Google, Volvo, Daimler, Tesla and Apple, respectively. Creating the list, researchers used the following parameters: live trials, miles tested on road, technology development, project scale and scope, and future potential and market opportunities.

It was also observed that people are heavily concerned about the decision making capabilities of autonomous systems. For example, how would a driverless car react, when a choice needed to be made between two situations with equally catastrophic outcomes? The Juniper study called for stakeholders and project leaders to work closely together in order to ensure a minimum level of safety for future users of autonomous driving systems.

Dec. 2, 2015 Driving photo: Google

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