David-Emanuel Hauptmann, Business Product Management at AID – Autonomous Intelligent Driving

Autonomous era brings complexity and enormous number of challenges to the car and other industries.

“A leap from automated to autonomous driving is huge, so we don’t see car manufacturers as our competitors, they are our tech companies,” says David-Emanuel Hauptmann, a fast growing Audi owned start-up that develops autonomous solutions for Volkswagen Group. To make progress in this area the industry needs high definition maps, deep learning or artificial intelligence, stronger computing power and sensors, especially lidar, becoming cheaper.

“The main challenges of the technology are safety and driving performance of the system, that are going to be more important that today. Autonomous vehicles will shift liability from driver to OEM’s and scaling up is going to take a lot of time and effort. But there are lots of benefits, we simply cannot overlook and they can all be measured.

“The time lost in congestion is enormous.”

Every year, driver in Bogota, capital of Columbia, on average loses 272 hours in congestions, 253 hours in Rome, 246 in Dublin, 237 in Paris and 140 hours in Munich. In Sao Paulo, it is estimated, that an increase in traffic congestion increased violence by ten percent.

In Germany this creates costs of about 80 billion euros per year, meaning 1.770 euros per driver. In Munich it‘s even higher with 2.983 euros per driver per year which amounts to 2.9 billion euros.

Traffic accidents annually (globally) take 1.25 million lives, and car utilization is on average only 5 percent, so in 95 percent they just cause high fix costs – from the cost of ownership to the cost of parking. Following those facts Hauptmann believes that full introduction of autonomous cars
will bring a big disruption in our lives. “Autonomous cars are expected to significantly reduce or even eliminate traffic accidents, improve energy consumption, enable mobility for all, including those with restricted mobility, improve the use of parking spaces; gain valuable time and reduce traffic congestion.

“I see also some other important benefits stemming from Autonomous Driving,” says Hauptmann.

Even decreasing the number of accidents could reduce congestion, because up to 25% of congestion is caused by traffic incidents. Some cities devote a third of their land to parking. Thanks to autonomous vehicles significant real estate could be freed up for other uses, from parks to residences to office space.