When will the first fully self-driving cars emerge on the market?


It is hard to anticipate the moment when fully self-driving cars will emerge on the market. Currently, there are very many infrastructural and technological uncertainties and challenges (see the question What infrastructural and technical obstacles may hinder the transition to self-driving vehicles?), concerning drivers (see the question What driver-related obstacles are involved in self-driving cars?) and concerning other road users (see the question How will other road users react to self-driving vehicles?). Estimates therefore vary considerably.

According to a 2018 study by SWOV, in collaboration with RAI Automotive Industry NL (veiligonderwegmetdeauto.nl [9]) it may take decades before cars will be able to drive fully automated in all conditions. The study resulted in the conclusion that fully self-driving vehicles could reach the market around 2065 in case of a fast transition path, and in 2085 in case of a slow transition path with technical constraints.

In 2017, researchers specifically studied the situation for the Netherlands [10]. According to their assessment, fully self-driving vehicles will be commercially available between 2025 and 2045. They do, however, add that the actual timeline will depend on matters such as technological development, policy, the economy, and customer opinion.

At this point in time, in early 2022, several years have passed since the 2017 and 2018 assessments. Research shows that the estimated date of fully self-driving vehicles appearing on the road is postponed again and again [11]. Currently, there are too many uncertainties to allow us to give a date for the market launch of fully self-driving vehicles, and only a rough estimate can be given [2]. Some experts even doubt whether fully self-driving vehicles will ever become commercially available [3].

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Self-driving vehicles

It will probably take at least several decades for completely self-driving vehicles to become commercially available, if they ever will. Yet, Meer

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